Robotic cats? Exploding chickens?! Heat seeking missiles!?! Sign me up.
Guilt Battle Arena is a colorful 2D couch-combat game that always keeps its antics feeling fresh and entertaining. The art style and sense of humor is reminiscent of games such as Castle Crashers. It is split into two main modes: a story mode and a multiplayer mode. Both were great on their own, but obviously, one being more of the main focus of the game than the other (hint: it’s the multiplayer mode).
You play as a member of the GUILT Patrol tasked with defeating the Dreadful judge and his army to restore peace to the galaxy. The story mode is comprised of six levels (excluding the tutorial) that involve you trying to survive each wave of enemies for as long as possible while offering some interesting challenges in each level. These challenges are quite difficult and have a high score demand in order to receive a good grade (after getting around 60 kills, it was only enough to earn two stars). Each challenge corresponds to a mode found in the game’s multiplayer mode.
The multiplayer mode is composed of eight different game modes: Last Man Standing, Capture The Flag, Hot Potato Bomb, Cat Mania, Predator, Chicken Rain, Rocket Man, and Random. Last Man Standing is a simply being the last one to alive at the end of the round. Capture The Flag involves shooting the player holding the flag to steal the flag and trying to be the one holding the flag before time runs out. Hot Potato Bomb involves using bullets to pass the bomb to other to other players or to get them caught in an explosion. Cat Mania involves trying to avoid robotic exploding cats while trying to stun opponents using the gun. Predator has one player being the predator who can damage other players while the hunters must shoot the predator to become the predator themselves. Chicken Rain involves trying to avoid exploding chickens falling from the sky while using the gun to stun opponents. In Rocket Man. you’re being followed by a rocket that targets a certain player; the player can send the rocket to others by shooting them with a bullet or trapping them in the path of the rocket. Last but not least, Random takes all of the previously mentioned game modes and randomly selects one to play each round. Some modifiers can also be added to each match that brings about more madness such as invisibility and multi-bullets.
Guilt Battle Arena truly shines thanks to the odd elements that all work well in the game’s favor. Each map is small, meaning players can’t simply hide on one part to gain an advantage and that they must keep repositioning themselves to be able to effectively dodge their enemies and find the perfect time to strike. Guilt offers only one type of weapon to players, a revolver that carries one bullet (two if multi-bullet is turned on). The coolest thing about this revolver is the fact that you’re only allowed to carry one bullet. Once you shoot it, you must go and collect it in order to shoot again. I love this concept since it means that you’ll always have to think before you shoot as missing leaves you vulnerable and could cost you the match. Finally, the movement of Guilt is what sets everything into place. Guilt features your typical movement commands such as jump, double jump, dash, and dive, but one odd concept they add is that characters are always moving throughout the match. The characters act as if they just finished drinking their 17th cup of coffee as they are always moving straight without any player influence. This adds to the madness since most of the modes would a cakewalk with 100% movement control. Having a main factor such as how much you move being out of control adds to the chaos of each match, making it much more fun and enjoyable. Costumes are continuously earned throughout both single-player and multiplayer. These costumes range from enemies found in the story mode to a humble pastry cook. My personal favorite is being player 2 and playing as the hooded enemies as he looks almost exactly like a Happy Happyists from Earthbound.
The only real downsides I found when playing Guilt were the lack of COMs and the huge difficulty spikes in the story mode. As I only had myself and my little brother to play the game modes with, most matches went by somewhat quickly and modifications such as ghost were practically unusable since the match would end once one of us died. This would be easily resolved if there were some computers could be added to the match to allow for there to be more chaotic situations a for people who don’t have any friends to play with at the time to be able to enjoy this mode as well. Also, while working your way through story mode levels, the game would have moments of difficulty spikes that wouldn’t flow well with the progression you make as you clear each wave. With each completed wave, more enemies arrive in next and after every three waves, the speed of the enemies and obstacles would increase. With the aforementioned lost control over the character’s movement and access to only one bullet, it makes it incredibly difficult at certain points to progress through later waves without having enemies quickly surrounding you from above and below forcing you to put yourself in awkward spots that would almost certainly end up with you taking damage.
Even with these minor flaws, I do see Guilt Battle Arena as a fantastic game to pop in with your friends and to see who is the greatest hero in the universe.