Monday, April 30

Review: Guilt Battle Arena [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Multiplayer action games are getting to be a dime a dozen on the Switch so the struggle to stand out is very real. In the indie space visuals are a bit wide open and everyone has their own tastes so there’s no guarantee for success there. At a core level the gameplay for many of these titles also have similarities so the trick is often to find a great gimmick or two to differentiate. Falling into the competitive shooting-esque category is Guilt Battle Arena, which has two somewhat unique elements in its corner if you’re game to try it out.

The first difference, and probably the one that affects gameplay the most, is the fact that each person has only one bullet. Once you shoot at someone your lone bullet will end up on the ground and in order to fire again you’ll first need to retrieve it. This immediately gives the game a somewhat more strategic feel, though it quickly devolves into people hoping to get their shot off first often. Since you’re a bit vulnerable without something to fire you’ll then have to rely on some skill in evasion, which is helped greatly by the fact that you can double jump or dive down quickly to throw off your enemies. The second difference is the variety in rules/modes you can play with, ranging from more standard fare like straight-up Last Man Standing to more creative modes that include those with explosive cats. The game doesn’t take itself seriously and it is some of these oddball ideas that do help it stand apart from its competition.

While it is first and foremost designed to be played with up to 3 of your friends you are able to have a bit of fun on your own, even if it would likely wear thin after a while. With the latest patch bots are available to go into Battle Mode with, giving you practice for playing against your human opponents. Though you could play Endurance Mode with a friend you can also go it solo, simply trying to survive through as many successive waves of steadily quicker enemies. Even if this mode doesn’t have a ton of staying power at least the various maps you have to choose from keep it fresh, especially since it includes quite a few that include environmental hazards to contend with. You can also go and create Custom matches against bots or friends and this will truly let you tinker with how things play out, which is nice, and the number of character skin unlocks in the game is impressive so everyone should (eventually) be able to settle on a look they like.

Overall, while Guilt’s appeal won’t be universal it at least makes a clear effort to quirk its way into your heart, rather than roll the dice and pray. The injection of humor and a dash of genuine creativity help it rise above some of the more average offerings out there but there’s no getting around the fact that there simply isn’t that massive an amount of content to play with in the end. While it has solo options this is another title that’s simply far better to play with some friends.

Score: 7.5

  • A unique one-bullet mechanic changes the dynamics of play until you’ve gotten it back
  • A wide variety of modes and map options help keep things from being completely predictable
  • Plenty of skin unlocks help give the game a bit more personality

  • A relatively low amount of content in the title means you’ll exhaust seeing new things quickly
  • While there are ways to enjoy it in single-player it is the multi-player that has the most promise for fun
  • While Guilt is unique it is jumping into a very competitive space