Friday, 10 August 2018 14:40

REVIEW: Guilt Battle Arena (Xbox One)

Written by Melekharn

Guilt Battle Arena – a game I hadn’t heard about until today when I was asked to review it. I quickly searched YouTube and found the launch trailer; what I saw did not disappoint! The way the game was portrayed reminded me heavily of Castle Crasher and Battle Block Theatre.

Invincible Cat and ForwardXP had put a lot of effort into the launch trailer and it really made me feel like I was watching the opening scenes from Battle Block Theatre. I hadn’t checked out any other reviews or watched any game play footage – it looked familiar and that was good enough for me.

I raced home from work and typed the code in to my Xbox One. Huh... Only 319MB. That seems a bit small.

With baited breath, I waited as the game loaded. That is basically where my excitement ended.

The opening credits, while not hugely important, really sets the mood of the game. The voice acting from the launch trailer is missing and you’re given a generic, over-used basis for the games “story.” Something so simple, yet it felt so incomplete.

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Once you’ve read through the opening scene, the game itself will give you a few options.

Battle Arena – The game picks a random game mode, applies modifiers and you jump right in. At the end of the round, the player who won (or if you selected option two, the player with the highest number of points after the round) picks a new game mode before the game slaps on more random modifiers.

Cup – Where you pick one of 8 competitions and play 10 rounds, with each round being one of three game modes and a number of modifiers

Custom – Which is exactly what it says it is. You pick one of the 13 game modes, which of the 10 Modifiers are active and have at it.

Horde – This is basically the games story mode. You (and possibly a second player) are pitted against a growing horde of enemies. You kill off a wave, another one comes, only slightly harder. Rinse and repeat.

Once you choose your game type, you’ll have a selection of characters that you can choose from – none of which seem to do anything special over the others, and you can unlock new skins as you play. I was instantly reminded once again of the two games The Behemoth successfully published and I enjoyed immensely. The developers both share a very similar art style and this is also reflected to a lesser extent in the arenas you play in.

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Control wise, you only have 4 buttons. A button to jump, to shoot, and the directional pad to choose if your character moves left or right. You can of course use the left thumb stick if you prefer, but I found the game to be very unresponsive when I did this; almost as if the game was trying to force me to swap to the pad... Even with only four buttons, the game felt clunky. As with most games, you’ll have an option to dash or double jump by tapping the required button twice, but otherwise, you have no control over your characters movement speed/standing still etc.

The games main mechanic is that your character only has a single bullet. The good news is, unlike the bullets we all know and love, you can pick it back up and fire it again. Maybe a little annoying, but not something particular difficult to overcome.

Enter the modifiers. Accessories to the game modes. 10 different ones to be exact, all designed to change the way the game works and provide more of a challenge.

Fancy a challenge? Try turning on “trampoline.” All four characters will be constantly bouncing around the arena and making it rather difficult to pick up your bullet. Perhaps you’d prefer that all guns fired backwards or had a shorter range? I found it a constant source of frustration to have my one and only bullet picked up by a dead opponent before being carried to the top of the screen while the “ghost” modifier was active. Oh... I forgot to mention. All ten of these can be on at once.

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Game wise, the 13 different game modes are all much the same. The most basic of which you simply need to “steal” your opponents hearts by shooting them. You begin with three and can only hold a maximum of three. You shoot your opponents to remove one of theirs. If you have a spare space, you’ll get one back. Last person alive wins. The most complicated require a player to “guide” an item to the opponent. This is quite often done by shooting them to divert attention from yourself. Not exactly ground breaking gameplay.

While I found the game to be quite frustrating, I do see the amount of effort put into it. The game play itself is quite challenging and will take some getting used to. Unlike games such as Super Smash Bros where you simply spam buttons and chain combos, this game requires you to constantly change your play style and adapt to different situations. You’ll need to perfectly time jumps, dodge enemy bullets and fire your own gun to maximum effect. You can’t rely on simply spamming. You need to wait for the most opportune moment; and with four characters bouncing around a small playable area, it’s not as simple as it may sound.

Overall, I don’t feel like this is a game you could sit down and play for a few hours. Playing by yourself gets very boring very quickly, and even though it would offer a few laughs while playing with friends, the game modes all feel too similar. It lacks the variety required to keep you interested. I’d suggest this as a game to play with friends while deciding what you would actually like to play together, something you can quickly load up, pop out a few rounds and move on.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 2.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4, XBOX ONE, Steam, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Invincible Cat
  • Publisher: ForwardXP
  • Genre: Indie, Action