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.
Whew! Thank you for this really in-depth review of the game! It's really humbling to us when someone takes their time and give us a full insight about their experience with the game as it really helps us understand what aspects of the game are well-crafted and which ones are not as great and could be improved on, and that type of feedback really helps us learn and make better gameplay not only for this specific project, but also for other future projects.
As a thank you, we also want to make sure that we give a full answer back as well.
First off, thank you for your detailed thoughts in regards to the different game modes and which ones you found were the most fun. Really glad you liked the Party mode as that one was one we wanted people to have the most fun as an out-there experience by only including the Fun weapons on it. On the other hand, your opinions on Berserk and Slice of Life modes are also quite an insight. We originally though of the Berserk/Assassin modes as a sort of advanced challenge for experienced players as some people had previously suggested some one-weapon-type-only challenges, but we might have made them too demanding in terms of health and weapon damage by the enemies. On the other hand, the Slice of Life mode could possibility receive some of the additional enemy health and weapon damage from those modes. We'll see into revising those in the future.
Surprising to read that your favorite gladiator is the Samurai as well, since he's actually a cameo from a project we haven't released yet! However, I do have to say that the Katana and Nr1 Glove (which is actually called The Foamy One) actually drop normally in Colossorama (and all the other modes that use the Fun weapons such as the Party one), they just don't have an high-probability of being drawn as weapon cards due to their category. We tried to balance the classic gladiator theming with some more silly and out-there stuff, but we understand it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Reading your strategy is also very interesting as part of the goal of giving two weapons to players was exactly to see what type of combinations and methods each player would choose to help them out through their gladiator runs. That being said though, you do have some points in regards to the axes and scythes. The issue with axes is that there really isn't that much of a way to add more damage to them (the Double Jack, the highest-tier axe already has the highest damage of any weapon), as if we did, we would be running into the same problem the very first version of the game had, in which axes would be the primary weapon and the others would be the one tossed aside. Scythes, or more specifically poison, could get a buff though, and possibly take a few more damage every-time the poison hits. Again, stuff to possibly revise in a future version.
Finally, as in regards to your suggestions and list of minor drawbacks:
It's been in our plans for a while to add some sort of scoreboard and rankings to the game and we've looked into the Newgrounds API previously. However, given that the game is hosted in different sites, we've been discussing what would be the best way to implement it. We could potentially come to make it so each of the different sites would have a specific version with their specific scoreboard system, but we would still have to develop some sort of base system before we decided to tackle that. Regardless of all the technical talk, it's still something we'd like the game (and any future other that we develop) to have! Fullscreen is something we'd like to look into too as well and it shouldn't be that complicated.
A curious fact about the original version is that it actual originally displayed the stats of every item as numerals, and the item window would actually say "12 DAMAGE". However, some feedback we got was that it was actually less readable in terms of stats the "+DMG" nomenclature we ended up using from the next version onwards. Having a full-stats library for the weapons would definitely be something interesting (and we've personally have wanted to do something similar with the story of the characters), however, in our opinion, part of the fun of the game comes exactly from trying to figure out the exact effects and strategies of each weapon, which is part of the reason why items such as Katana and the Paintbrush have such vague descriptions. Part of the fun in fun weapons is exactly not knowing what what you're going to get until you finally realize what they do. Still though, we'll discuss this suggestion better off as a team!
We have personally talked about doing a sequel previously, but still haven't got anything on the table yet as there are other projects in the table we'd like to complete before re-thinking back to our already released games (like this one). If we are ever to tackle it properly, your suggestion of making the combat mechanics more complex would definitely be one of the first things we'd think about, as it's been one of the many things that we've always brainstormed about every time we talked about it. We've also talked about passive items and other aspects of the sorts. There are definitely a lot of ways that the Colossorama could expand. :) If you have any more stuff in mind, do let us know!
Thank you once again for your in-depth review, and thank you for following us! We expect to surprise you with another amazing game in the future!