PREVIEW / Gladiators Arena (PS4)

Sometimes you’ll watch someone reviewing a game that you love and think that they’ve completely missed the point. As reviewers, we aren’t infallible and sometimes we review a title badly simply because we don’t really get what the devs are going for. I’d like to hope this was the exception and not the norm but it definitely does happen. This was also very much the feeling I was getting when I sat down and started playing Gladiators Arena, the game we’ll be previewing for you today. Either I’m on the wrong planet or this is the biggest case of not judging a book by its cover I’ve come across so far this year. This game has already been released on Steam but we’ll be looking closer at the PS4 port which is out very soon.

I was quite excited to play Gladiators Arena because the blurb I read first was brilliantly written and sold this title very well. I was expecting to step into the arena as a novice gladiator and battle my way to glory through waves of challenging warriors and beasts. What I got was something that I would have expected to have seen on Newgrounds back in the day. This in and of itself isn’t a slur because I loved Newgrounds and spent more time in college, (British not American, I was 16,) playing about on that site than I should have done. This just isn’t something I’d expect to be seeing on my PS5 screen in 2024.

Gladiators Arena is, as we’d expect, an arena battler. You start by selecting your weapon and then begin the first wave of combat as tigers enter the arena. After that, you just run around a lot. All the attacking is done for you and you only have two buttons. These comprise a dash button and a button that should set off your specials but, at least on my playthrough, doesn’t. I might have just been picking up passives but I used one button and the joypad for my entire play session. Once you’ve beaten that wave you’re given an upgrade screen where you can spend gold to make yourself stronger then you start the next wave and off you go. This is pretty much the entire gameplay loop with a few different opponents thrown in every so many waves. I’d like to say harder opponents but I got to wave 50 and stopped because I was bored, not because I felt stuck or challenged.

During each wave in Gladiators Arena, you’ll get the initial flood of enemies and there’s a bit of dodging and running around as your weapon hacks away at things for you. After this initial attack, you find yourself standing in the middle of the arena as one or two, very easily, dispatchable enemies run at you until the wave is over. You get more powerful and the enemies, which weren’t a massive threat to begin with, become easier to kill. Things spike a bit when a new foe is introduced but this spike is tiny and you just go back to the same rather tedious loop.

Gold in most arena games is a really precious commodity because your upgrades are paramount and they are usually quite expensive. This means you get tougher as a mark of your skill and if you don’t “get good,” you don’t get stronger and will die a lot. In Gladiators Arena you get one or two chances to upgrade between waves and a few choices but they aren’t very expensive. In the beginning, when you have nothing you’ll have to play strategically but when you get a bit into a run you’ll find that this strategy goes out of the window. Your upgrades cost about a hundred gold at most and by wave 50 I had several thousand gold in my purse and could buy anything I wanted. As I was only getting to make one or two purchases at a time the upgrades may as well have been free. It was just something to do for a few seconds between waves.

Gladiators Arena is probably the sort of game where you’re going for a high score but that is something that will happen on its own because there’s no real challenge here. Any decent gamer will be able to outmaneuver most enemies and as all the attacking is done for you it just becomes a case of rinse and repeat. You can’t make the game harder, (that I noticed,) so the desire to battle on for a bigger score payout just goes out of the window.

Nuts and bolts-wise there’s no story, the graphics aren’t offensive but they’re very basic, little to no music, and the sound effects are repetitive and annoying. Gladiators Arena functions as a game but if you’re expecting any bells and whistles you’re not going to get them. It’s fine but with the lackluster gameplay, it’s not scoring this game any points.

Gladiators Arena is not an expensive game, in fact, it will only cost you a few pounds to play. It’s easy to say that you get what you pay for and, to an extent, this is very true. My argument for this is that you can still have an inexpensive game and it be fun and addicting. This one, sadly for me at least, wasn’t and I’d advise saving that couple of quid and adding it to your pot to buy something else. This is fine as a mobile time killer but not really something that in my opinion needs to be in your Playstation library.

Fun for a few minutes

Not really hitting the mark

Gladiators Arena feels more like a mobile port that doesn’t really fit a console release. There isn’t enough game to warrant even a few pounds of your money and after about the first ten minutes of play, things get fairly monotonous. There are other inexpensive titles out there that will do a better job of being fun than this one. I think unless you specifically want to play it’s probably better to save the cash and look elsewhere.

Originally posted by

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

We only use unintrusive ads on our website from well known brands. Please support our website by enabling ads. Thank you.