Developer: Ghostfire Games
Release Date: 09/19/2013
Also Available On
Infinity Blade was a big deal when it was released. It was the Dark Souls of mobile games at the time before Dark Souls even came out. Chair Entertainment started a revolution that many tried to copy and failed. It was a rogue-lite that had you dying over and over to only use the gold and XP you acquired to level up and get further each time. Some consider it a repetitive grind, but others feel it makes them want to get further and further and find the chiseling of progression addictive. Rage of the Gladiator tries this and doesn’t do any of it very well. Forget a story, it’s pretty much nonexistent outside of a few stills with text.
There are ten bosses to fight through. Each one does more damage, has faster moves, and more of them. Despite this sense of progression in difficulty, the game is very easy. You have to dodge left or right in first person, jump, and then swing your sword left or right, and even kick when you successfully dodge. You can get a max of a 5-hit combo in unless you use a special move before that fifth hit. There’s no strategy involved, and I only died one time during my entire play-through. Moves are easy to predict and rather slow. The repetition gets worse when you have to win three rounds per boss. That’s 30 rounds in total before unlocking the medium difficulty. Yeah, you work your way up through hard, but the moves are just faster and one or two more are thrown in. You also take more damage.
You can buy weapons, shields, armor, mana, and health potions, acquire passive and offensive abilities and increase stats. You win gold after each match and earn one measly XP per match. Yes, it’s a complete grind and this is leftover from this being a mobile game. At the end of the tenth boss, I was only able to buy two new weapons, a single shield, and an armor piece. You can use gold to buy XP, but this system is in favor of grinding or slowing you down enough to make you buy this stuff via microtransactions, but these aren’t on the 3DS version. So, instead of rebalancing the game, they kept the grind in.
This would be fine if the game was as epic or good-looking as something like Infinity Blade. Instead, we get generic Greek mythology bosses, a ninja, and a Chinese martial arts master, and that’s about it. Medium and Hard difficulties have one additional boss at the end, but they’re not exciting. However, the animations are stiff, the visuals are ugly, and everything is just on repeat forever. There’s no strategy involved in the fights or even how to go about your attacks. Instead of adding a parry system that allows you to counter an attack you just dodge. There are a few attacks that can be paired, but it’s only on a few of the bosses. It would even be cool to change up the background, but instead, it’s the same Roman arena forever.
Overall, Rage of the Gladiator is a repetitive, boring, easy, and weak attempt at a genre that has been done better and to death. There’s no rebalancing of the shop or winnings so you’re grinding as if you can buy these things to advance quicker. The bosses are uninteresting and boring, the game is ugly and drab, and there’s no story to speak of. Shoving a mobile game onto the 3DS was a bad move and it shows here.