This is a very amazing game, the sheer variety of weapons, items, skins and game modes makes this very versatile experience despite simple combat mechanics.
My favorite game mode is the main Colossorama mode that provides the most balanced gameplay and the Classic mode that provides the most realistic and historic experience. The next two best modes IMO are Party and Holomayhem for some crazy gameplay that is the most different from the normal rules. The Slice of Life mode is my least favorite because it's too easy to achieve a good score there with only the best items dropping all the time. Another bad mode is the Berserk mode, it is too unfair in my opinion. It's enough that axes are the worst weapons due to them being so slow, the increased health of enemies and narrow selection of weapons in this mode makes it too boring and hard. It's a pity axes are so bad in this game, it's generally a cool weapon's class in real life and most other games. I also dislike the Woof mode, playing with a dog that uses weapons is just silly.
My favorite gladiator is the Samurai because he looks cool enough and his Katana is one of the best weapons that just doesn't drop otherwise. Other then the Samurai I like the standard Glade Athor and Classic Glade the most because they look cool as real gladiators. Bandit Leader also comes with a strong weapon that doesn't drop otherwise, the Nr1 Glove, but I dislike the look of this weapon, as with most modern looking items it just doesn't fit into the Gladiator theme. I don't like any of the silly or modern looking gladiators generally.
My favorite setup is:
1)To have either Spear or Hammer or a Sword as the primary weapon to use and to try not take damage with it. The Whale Impaler and BFHammer and Katana are my favorite weapons. If I play as Samurai I always keep the Katana, for other guys I use a spear or hammer - whatever I get in higher quality and first, but if I only have bad spears or hammers then I can use swords for a while. It's most important to get a weapon that kills standard enemies in 2 hits. After that It's hard to decide between spears for their range and Hammers for their push. The standard swords other then the Katana come in third place after spears and hammers with their overall balance as their strength. But sword that kills standard enemy in 2 hits is better then a spear or hammer that takes 3 hits. (Not sure there are such weak hammers trough).
2)To have mace or the ranged lifedrainer as the secondary weapon. Health is most important in this game so I like to have means on me to get it back always. Most fighting is best to do with a Primary weapon that is good for not getting hit, but some lone and easy enemies are good to be picked off with a mace to get some health back. My best strategy I have is is to hit enemies with primary weapons (spear/hammer/sword) and then deal the last blow with a mace, because the last blow poses the least risk due to them not being able to hit back if you are too slow to retreat.
3) To have a health potion or at Least Pandora's Box in an item slot. Health trumps all other items, it's a rather unbalanced slot, that makes other items to see the light of day only rarely.
By using this setup and strategy I can usually go for about 200 - 300 kills in my favorite Standard and Classic modes.
Axes are very bad weapons for their slow speed and scythes are useless because the arena becomes too crowded with enemies by time the poison kills them off. They make the Berserk and Assasin modes very hard. The Assasin mode is better because at least you can change to swords there. I think Axes are underpowered and should have even higher damage to the point of killing some more enemies (other then flying ones which can be killed by one hit with other things too) in one hit to compensate for their slow speed. No idea how to make scythes better, poison is just generally a bad choice for combat in narrow space.
Ranged weapons are nice for diversity and can be sometimes useful. But generally the melee weapons are more reliable. I like the Holomayhem mode for the requirement to use ranged there. The life drainer is the best ranged weapon, followed by 4 fireball and the minethrower (duck) weapon. These can be decent secondary weapons in absence of maces to weaken enemies from distance before hitting them in melee.
There are a few minor drawbacks in this game, normally I would reduce a halfstar for each such thing, but since the game is so good and the good things owerwhelm the bad, I only reduce a halfstar for all of them combined.
The minor drawbacks:
- It would be nice if there would be global rankings where players could compare scores in main game mode and perhaps some other more serious game modes like Classic mode. For the crazy modes like Party, silly modes like Woof or overpowered modes like that Slice of Life this is not necessary. There is an option to make scoreboards on Newgrounds if the game makers have no server to make their own scoreboards.
- No fullscreen option
- It's sad that the item description screen hdoesn't have enough space to display full item information. For instance I suspect that Cleric's Mace is better then other Maces and gives both +1 Speed and +1 DMG, but there is no space to display it.
- There could be some library of weapons and items to read full info on all of them including those that have no room to display all info and those that can only be achieved by unlocking special characters and whose info is never shown. For instance as of now there is no way to learn what exact bonuses a Katana or Purple Paintbrush or Nr1 glove or Bread give. Sure they can be understood rather precisely just from the gameplay, but the Nerd in me asks for a full stats library anyway.
I hope that makers of this game make a sequel with some improvements that would be game that could easily become among the best games of the year here on NG or would even be good enough to be sold for money, here are a few things I thing could be added to make this really epic:
- Fix the drawbacks mentioned above.
- Make combat mechanics just slightly more complex with more depth, without losing fun (a tricky thing but necessary).
- Make once per round usable items other then health potions more useful. As it is now the health potion is too important to pass . Maybe they should be in a separate slot from other items or the health should just regenerate after each round so that there would be more room to use various items. Maybe there could be two item slots, one for Q and one for E key, but you could have health potions in only one.
I hope the authors make a sequel, that would be one cool game. Anyway I am fallowing this developer Whales and Games, surely is talented and making good games.