Local multiplayer games seem to be coming back, be it competitive or party, there’s an undeniable surge of them as of late. Guilt Battle Arena is the latest genre addition to try and grab your attention, and it offers a surprisingly simple gameplay mechanic to lean on. The game is described as a 2D couch combat experience that sees you taking on the role of The GUILT Patrol. There’s little story to withdraw from it, and instead rests much of its weight on the actual gameplay. To its merit, Guilt Battle Arena is very easy to pick up and understand, but is ultimately let down by its sheer lack of material and repetitive gameplay.
The core formula sees your chosen character with just one single bullet, and if you shoot it, you have to race across the screen to pick it back up again. On paper, this seems like a very enjoyable and thrilling setup, but in practice, it’s far removed. Your character will self-move across the arena, with the player merely controlling the jumping, dashing, turning, and shooting functions. Arenas will be filled with deadly contraptions that are in place to put you down, ranging from projectile rocket, right up to exploding cats. The aim of the game, depending on the mode you select, is to outmaneuver any immediate danger whilst trying to nail your nearest and dearest with a bullet to the head.
Guilt Battle Arena supports four local players across the cooperative and competitive modes. This, however, is where the first issue comes into view. With no online support, it would have been nice to see bot support in place for those that don’t have easy access to local players. Despite how diverse the game modes are, they don’t really do much to maintain fun. Sure, they’re fun for a few rounds, but past that, the novelty soon wears off. Modes include standard types such as Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing, as well as some original modes; Chicken Rain, Rocket Man, Hot Potato, and a few other less than notable additions. I don’t want to drag on this game too much, but despite the few interesting options on offer, not a single mode really stands out.
Rocket Man, for example, has a single player being chased by a homing rocket. This player must either jump over other players to have them take a hit from the rocket, or shoot another player to pass the rocket on. It’s fun at first, but this mode (as with every other) doesn’t last very long at all. Meaning that each and every mode will be over and done with swiftly. The same can be said about Chicken Rain, which has all players scrambling to avoid falling chickens, whilst battling it out with your friends. These may indeed be original modes, but they’re not lengthy and they’re not innovative. You can setup modifiers to change-up the gameplay to some degree, but again, it’s hardly worth the time or trouble when you take the lack of longevity into account. These options include; ghost, speed-up, jetpacks, and so on and so forth, all of which are standard and self explanatory.
Oddly enough, the co-op mode is counter productive, being that if one player dies, it’s the end. No revives, no second chance, if you bite the dust you take your friend with you. The illusion of making progression in this game has also lazily been thrown into the mix. Players can select from a bunch of different costumes from the start, with over thirty additional costumes unlocked throughout natural play. These costumes are purely cosmetic and don’t alter the gameplay in any way, shape, or form. It’s okay to have something to work towards, but it would have been better to have more structure here so that it actually felt rewarding and progressive. What I will say about Guilt Battle Arena is that it had the potential to be something much more than what it is.
Sadly, as it stands, this is a one-and-done sort of deal. You and your friends can sample everything that’s on offer in the space of half an hour, and will likely grow bored of all of it in just twice that amount of time. One thing the game does get right is its visuals. I quite enjoyed the bright and well detailed locations and character models, but this alone doesn’t save the game from itself. To top it all off, the price tag is far beyond what this game is worth. If the game cost half of its current price, I would be more forgiving on this front, but I cant at all recommend paying this amount of money for an experience that just doesn’t last. Local multiplayer games should be engaging, fun, and offer a lot of replay value. Guilt Battle Arena just doesn’t manage to hit any of those targets.
Guilt Battle Arena is a game that’s overpriced and under-delivers. Granted, there’s a good blend of different modes on offer and the visuals are fun and colorful, but that means very little when each mode becomes repetitive and boring before long. The fact of the matter is, is that you can get much better elsewhere for the same price or less.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.