Guilt Battle Arena blurs the line between easy-to-play party games and Super Smash Bros.-style arena fighters, throwing you and up to three friends into a frantic, fast-paced fight to the death with a very basic set of controls. It’s all fun and games on the surface with an endearing sense of humour visible from the off, but is it worth your time? Let’s dive right in and find out.
The game revolves around one very simple idea combined with those easy controls we mentioned just a second ago. Your character only has one bullet available to shoot with and, once you’ve fired a shot, you’ll have to travel to wherever it landed to pick it up again. Using simple jumps, double jumps, side-dashes, and dives, you’ll need to rush around the 2D screen, shooting at your enemies, taking your bullet back, and repeating the whole thing over and over at high speed.
Guilt Battle Arena’s main mode, which can only be played with 2-4 players, sees you and your friends taking each other on in a variety of battle types. There is a standard option, which simply tasks each player with taking out their opponents’ lives, but there are also several others that really turn up the crazy. Essentially, though, you’ll always be competing to knock out your opponents enough times for the win.
One example of this added mayhem introduces rockets that will pick a player at random and charge towards them, forcing that player to either dodge it, or attempt to get an opponent between them and the rocket’s flight path. Another weakens your guns to a simple stun setting, only enabling you to freeze other players in position, before dropping giant chickens from the sky to crush anyone who can’t move out of the way quick enough. It’s all complete madness, and you’ll still have to keep on top of your movement and shooting as usual, but it’s good fun.
You can actually change things up a little further, too, with stackable customisation options such as jetpacks, invisibility, a ‘trampoline’ setting which makes everyone horribly bouncy, and a ‘speed up’ option which incrementally increases how fast everyone moves until the game ends. The game can already feel fast and intense, especially with the full compliment of available players as you desperately try to dodge the endless storm of bullets in such a tight space, but these modifiers take things up another notch or two.
It is instantly noticeable that rather than being something to sink hours into, this game is perhaps best played in short bursts. Playing with friends can be a good laugh, and unlocking all of the new characters (including our personal favourite which is just a guy in a burger costume) is fun while it lasts, but after a few rounds you’ll likely have had enough. This is where the game verges closer towards the party side of that line we mentioned at the beginning, as it doesn’t really have the level of depth that would be needed to take it any further.
There is also a second mode available, however, which acts as a survival version of the main game. Either on your own, or together with a friend, you’ll be attempting to survive waves of enemies as they approach from each side, both on the ground level, and flying above you. Trying to decide whether to shoot or dodge each opponent can become tricky as each stage progresses; every new wave ramps up the speed of your enemies and you’ll soon be dealing with different types coming at you from all sides, often forcing you into mistakes through panic.
There are several different stages to choose from to play out your endless mode endeavours, but they follow a very similar pattern to the main versus mode. You’ll be seeing the same ideas as before, such as the rockets and the chickens, making you realise that the game doesn’t have quite as much content as you probably would have liked. The ideas are all fun, and the survival option is a great way to have a break from the shenanigans of the main mode, but we were left hoping for a little more.
Visually and performance-wise the game works really nicely, with clear bold colours and a pleasing artistic design shining through at all times. In fact, if the idea of the game could have been taken a little further, we would have loved to spend much more time with the characters and the world around them. As it is, though, every time we load up the game we feel that we’ve already seen everything before, wishing for more modes or different opponents to play against.
Guilt Battle Arena is a lot of fun while it lasts with frantic, fast-paced action that forces players to act quickly in the heat of battle. Our main issue, however, is that everything that the game has to offer can be seen very quickly, and the desire to keep picking up the game, again and again, isn’t as strong as we’d initially hoped. Fun in quick bursts, but lacking slightly in gameplay content, we’d urge you to place this one on your ‘maybe’ list.