Saturday, December 29, 2018

Review: Super Treasure Arena [Nintendo Switch eShop]


While local multiplayer is very much alive and well on the Switch, a side effect of that fact is that the eShop is simply overwhelmed by them and, being honest, a lot of what’s out there is a bit generic. Whether there’s not enough variety, strategy, or depth, too many of the titles either feel very similar or perhaps only like an expanded mini game of sorts and unable to stand on their own very well. Some also either have no bot support or the AI is a mess so there’s no viable solo option that’s any fun, which may not be critical but can also be a bummer. Super Treasure Arena comes into this with a great pixel art style and some clever mechanics, that do help it stand out, but also just understand that its content is pretty limited overall as well.


Working with one of 5 playable classes, each of which have their own distinct abilities, your general goal is to match up with 3 of your friends, bots, or some combination thereof. You’ll be looking to pick up power-ups, health, and, of course, lots of treasure. You’ll be able to gain this by breaking open chests that will show up periodically, taking out the random enemies that are moving about, or targeting some of your fellow competitors and taking them out. Each of the 6 arenas, aside from having their own look and feel, is also laid out a bit differently so the flow of battle tends to differ as well.


While the above is all fine and good it would also roughly describe a number of similar titles out there. Where Super Treasure Arena manages to go the extra mile and differentiate itself a bit is that it provides for some smart strategic play based on the arena layouts and the rules. In some of the arenas you can absolutely try to hold out, relying on a bit of a bottleneck into an area with a consistent power-up drop and maybe even a chest. Combine elements like this with the fact that when you die you lose all of your coins and they only remain for a limited time on the ground and you’ll start to see strategies emerge. No matter how many coins you have if you die in the closing moments you’re screwed so it can get frantic, especially if everyone decides to team up on you. Once that target is out of the way though it can then turn into a free-for-all with the survivors killing each other for the loot.


While its 5 classes, 6 arenas, and 2 modes won’t equate to endless and terribly diverse fun, credit goes to the developers for being smart with how they set the stage to go with all of that. If it weren’t for the rules, some smart layouts, and the potential those bring for some smart and strategic play Super Treasure Arena would blend in with the rest of the crowd. Instead, it manages to break away from the pack a bit with a very reasonable price and potential for smart gameplay.


Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • Well-conceived rules and layout variety make for smart play rather than mindless conflict
  • The AI support is good enough in a pinch to keep it fun for ensuring you stay at 4 players
  • A very fair budget price of admission

Cons:
  • Even though it has good roots there’s not a ton of overall content so mileage will vary
  • While it’s a step up from generic local multiplayer fare it’s not revolutionary either