Guilt Battle Arena
Developed By: Invincible Cat
Published By: ForwardXP
Category: Indie Party Brawler
Release Date: 03.01.2018
Guilt Battle Arena for Nintendo Switch is a party brawler in the vein of Castle Crashers and kind of like a low-key Super Smash Bros without the depth. While a lack of sophisticated gameplay would hurt most games, it is actually a huge advantage for GBA; making it simple enough for anyone to pick up and play at any time.
Graphically, the game is very clearly most inspired by games like Castle Crashers. You control a cute little box person with a gun that would fit right into the background (or, heck, the foreground too) of Castle Crashers without missing a beat. The colorful backgrounds are as much of a draw as the characters, with sort of a Paper Mario feel. The backgrounds are well animated, and I often found myself paying more attention to the cow in the background than to the wave of enemies trying to murder me. In fairness to me, it’s a really great cow. Also the little man trying to escape the glass tube in the rocket stage background does some fun stuff too. My point is, pay attention to the backgrounds. The graphics, while simple, are also really sharp, and they look as good on a TV as they do in handheld mode, so it’s a perfect game for at home or on the go.
Gameplay-wise, the action is simple but takes some skill to grasp. You’ve got a gun, but only one bullet, and you have to go get it back every time you shoot it. Enemies come at you from either side on the ground or in the air, and you can shoot them on the ground or jump up and get them. If your bullet’s been fired, you can dodge enemies by jumping, dashing, or jump dashing (you can jump dash up, sideways, or down). That’s pretty much all there is to it; some stages have hazards that you have to dodge as well, but the dodging strategies are pretty much the same.
There is a single player mode, where you compete against yourself to see how many enemies you can take out before they overrun you, but it’s not the heart of the game. Sure, it’s pretty fun to take on the computer, but there are only five stages and the hazards aren’t really varied enough to change the gameplay significantly for each. As a result, the single player experience won’t keep you interested for more than a few hours at most. And, sure, there is technically a story to it, but it’s just the barest hint of a premise to give the action some context. The story consists entirely of the two-minute intro movie and a two-minute ending movie. It’s paper thin; very amusing, but not very engaging.
But who really cares about single player? This is a party game and it lives in its multiplayer. Up to four players can play together on the same console and it’s a blast to play with friends and family. There are a bunch of different modes to play with their own dynamics and objectives, and there are even special modifiers that can be applied to each match, further randomizing the combat. Multiplayer is clearly the focus of the game, and it shows through in the quality of the gameplay experience. My personal favorite is predator mode when everyone is invisible. Fun game mode, and it makes me feel like the Predator; it’s just a blast all around.
TL;DR: Fantastic party game, just OK for single player. I could play it all day long… with some friends.