Who doesn’t love a good beat’em up? Sometimes all you want to do is hop into a game and mash those buttons for a quick, satisfying round of violence. That’s pretty much what you’ll get with Brain Seal’s latest, Story of a Gladiator.
Story of a Gladiator is about common man who has lost everything in the war against the Roman empire. Everyone is dead, your family, your friends, and all your possessions. You’ve managed to escape slavery and death only to wonder why your life was spared. One day, fortunes turn and you take the role of a new inductee to the pits, becoming a gladiator. Can you survive through a series of battles set across the Roman Republic and become the new champion of Rome?
Story of a Gladiator is kind of like one of those old school style button mashing beat’em ups except with a bit more strategy and some RPG style elements. Basically each battle occurs in the fabled arena where you must survive against the odds and make it out alive to advance. Though death doesn’t mean a complete loss. You still earn coin and experience and if you can’t beat a level, just buy better equipment.
Leveling up also allows you to earn new moves as well as buff moves you already know. The more damage you can do in the arena, the better you’ll fair against your opponent. What’s neat is that in-between arena matches, you can wander around Rome where you can buy armor, weapons, buffs, and learn new skills. It’s not a very large Rome, but I like the way it’s drawn and really gives you that feel of being there.
But of course the meat of the game are the arena battles which will get harder as you progress. Mainly enemies will begin having better armor, better weapons, and slightly different skills that you’ll need to adapt to. Not only that, animals are also introduced a bit later which adds a while other element to the combat.
There are three modes in the game which determine difficulty. Scared doubles your health points and gives you an additional 50% damage. Gladiator is just normal mode. Lion limits you to just three lives and once you die, you die. That’s it. Beginners will want to start on Scared or Gladiator mode just to get a feel for the game. You’re allowed three save slots so you could just have one game on every difficulty level if you so choose to.
While the combat in the game is pretty solid and responsive, you’ll have to remember to use all your skills. Basic moves aren’t going to cut it in the later levels and while some of you are all about the offense, a good defense will keep you alive. By the way, each arena battle allows you to earn a rating between one to three stars. Three stars requires almost a near perfect showing. The trick really is to try and fight each opponent one on one and try not to have a group of enemies attack you all at once.
Aside from the combat, the presentation is what I really love about the game. Everything looks hand drawn and has this really kind of authentic look to it. It’s a neat style of art for sure and lends itself well to the Roman theme. Not only that, the audio is also pretty fantastic. Mainly the music is so good whether your in town or in the arena. Everything in the game just fits the Roman theme so well. The developers did a fantastic job in this area.
- Learn combat skills and moves that will dazzle your enemies
- Over 80 enemy gladiators and 20 ferocious animals each with unique fighting strategy
- 3 arenas with 36 battles and 3 bosses
- Win the favor of the crowd and receive unexpected help
- Pray to the gods and call upon them to help you win battles
- Train your very own tiger pet
- Choose your origin, from Greece, Carthage or Egypt
- Rogue-like mode available for those who were born gladiators
Is there anything I didn’t like about Story of a Gladiator? Not really. The game can be a little repetitive if you get stuck on a particular level because either you’re not strong enough or you need better skills, but I like the challenge and it’s part of the grind. It just means you try harder each time and of course the extra experience and money you earn makes you a better gladiator.
Story of a Gladiator is a really good button mashing arena fighter with depth. The fighting is really good but I also like the progressions system and being able to gain new skills, equipment, and buffs. There’s actually quite a bit of strategy involved and I like that. With that said, Story of a Gladiator is one of those games that exemplify why I like indie games.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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