Choose your Gladiator
Hoards of alien intruders are headed to destroy your planetary base in Pixel Gladiator, a tower defence game by Drageous Games. Prepare for waves of enemies by upgrading your weapons, beefing up your base’s defences, and recruiting friendly drones to help you survive as long as possible.
Booted and thrown into the action
You’re offered four choices: Survival, Arena 1, Arena 2 or Arena 3. Choosing any will pop you in the game with no explanation. The developer gives some insight – apparently you’re on some abandoned planet and get paid by viewers per alien murder you achieve. The game doesn’t really cover that, but context clues will help you know what’s going down. Just mow down each wave as they come.
That is as deep as the game gets. It’s like many other tower defence game, and the point is to challenge yourself to survive as long as possible. And let me tell you, this game is very challenging. Things are fairly unforgiving. Luckily, once you get used to the controls of jumping and aiming somewhat accurately, the game picks up. Each kill gains monetary value. Money is then spent before each new wave to get new weapons and upgrades. Money well spent directly correlates to lifespan so spend wisely. Test out how each new weapon performs on your alien opponents.
Each of the Arenas has pre-determined enemies and bosses that arrive when you get far enough in the waves. Difficulty can be easily spotted based on the arena number but also spices up the game if things get too frustrating in one arena. Feel free to switch it up and play at your leisure. Survival option is just that, prepare for random waves of enemies and hope you make good choices of upgrades. This was my preferred mode for this review.
Art pulls from the pixelated arcade games of the past. There’s plenty of diverse enemies to encounter to keep things interesting. Music sets the mood, giving urgency when the wave begins and provides a calming air to let you know when the smoke has settled. Music however isn’t diverse between stages and modes. Controls fail when it comes to aiming. Using the right stick of the Switch, it’s not easy to pinpoint your target. It’s okay when things coagulate together. Frustrating otherwise.
Initially Pixel Gladiator felt sloppy, with tough to aim controls. It immediately picks up as you get used to the gameplay and get the chance to try out different weapons and upgrades. It does quickly drop again with repetitive and unforgiving gameplay, yet is still diverse enough to tempt another go. This game is geared for competitive and hardcore fans of the tower defence genre in order to get a name on the leaderboards. I’d love to see online or couch co-op added as part of this coliseum blood bath.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 25/10/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Developer: Flying Islands Team
Publisher: Drageus Games
Download link: eShop