ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Nowadays it’s looked down and frowned upon to fight anyone, let alone your friends, in any arena, with deadly weapons — ranging from your fists to your favorite medieval flail — wanting to badly spin your head around, shouting "Are you not entertained!?" There’s no more fighting in arenas against lions or other bloodthirsty, starved animals because PETA would call it ‘unethical’ and ‘cruel.’ But, now the days of arguing with your friends about who would win in hand-to-hand, gladiator-style combat are long gone.
Welcome to the ARENA.... GODS, a title where you use anything and everything at your disposal to beat, slice, smash, stab, and pummel your way to victory. You can be equipped with a spear, increasing your reach of death by several feet, or if you're feeling like parting ways with your spear, you can toss it and lodge it into your opponent’s chest or other body parts. Maybe you are more of a sword guy, looking to slice your enemies up. Or the unconventional, Captain America thrown-shield as weapon. Either way, ARENA GODS has it all for you and three of your closest friends in this couch co-op title.
ARENA GODS brings you face-first into the action of the game with no fancy story, narrative, or reason for fighting beyond that your desire to be the best there is conflicts with three other people. The game keeps it simple, ranging from two to four players that can easily join in with virtually no learning curve.
There are no fancy controls or tech skills you need to learn to be proficient at this game. You run, you attack, you roll. Sometimes you win; more often than not, you die. While there are a handful of weapons in the game, most of them feel like the same weapon just reskinned and do not offer a whole lot in terms of different gameplay or feel to each weapon — the illusion of variety.
The graphics are simple and stay true to the simplicity of the game.
Each player is a neon color to differentiate you from the rest of the players and the world. And with a static, top-down view, you can see all the combat unfold in front of your very eyes — blood, stabbing , death, and all. The maps change with each round and the weapons are randomized to keep things new and different each round. But they all offer a unique mechanic of looping. At the end of one side of the map, begins the start of the opposite side. All while the weapons are brought up in neat little boxes for your convenient killing.
While it is in Early Access that means there is not a whole lot of depth just yet but what is frustrating is attempting to figure out the controls. Because it is a couch co-op game controllers are needed to play with friends but the controllers don't always connect or even work with this game, like they do with other more developed games. The sounds and music is nothing outstandingly good or bad. It has synth-heavy music, which feels a little strange for a game of gladiators, but the audio of the combat gets the job done.
The Verdict: Fair
ARENA GODS offers a lot in terms of being a incredibly fun as a party game but sadly not a whole lot more. After about an hour or so you realize you have been on this map several times over and the variety of the weapons goes stale. There is nothing keeping you playing in terms of story because it does not have one and while the game play is simple and fun, it is still simple. Meaning that once you have played a few matches, you have played the entire content this game has to offer. As it is in Early Access, hopefully there will be more to come and more to explore. There is room for improvement and I have no doubt that you will see it as the game develops and finds itself, but in its current state there is not a whole lot in variety which is what keeps you coming back and playing any couch co-op title.