Sep 1, 2011
Looking for some straightforward, mindless, hack and slash action? Then look no further; it doesn’t get much more mindless than Colosseum.
In Colosseum, you’re pitted against endless waves of ogres, skeletons and other beasties as you fight your way to the exit on the far side of the field. It’s not simply about making it to the end, however. You’ll have to find the key to unlock the door first, and that requires killing monsters. The key pops out after a set number of kills, and that number slowly inches its way higher as you progress through level after level. So long as you can survive long enough to find the key and make it to the door, you’ll be good to go.
After each level, you go to a store where you can buy weapon upgrades, armor and healing potion. As you can expect, each additional upgrade costs a little more.
Weapons come in two varieties: ranged and melee. Melee weapons do less damage than ranged but can be used much more frequently as they require less of a “cool down” period between usage. Ranged weapons also have magic powers. Bombs are eventually replaced by meteors, daggers can have fire elemental magic effects, the hatchet brings ice element effects while the spear does heavy lightning damage.
Colosseum is interesting for about an hour, if that. Once you’ve got the basic gameplay down, there isn’t much else to do beyond collecting money, buying upgrades, grabbing power-ups and seeing which weapon/magic skill you like best. Even as the monsters grow in number and strength, after a certain level, it just becomes endlessly more of the same. By the time I hit level 20, I’d purchased almost every item in the store and was quickly losing interest in the game. I fought through level after level, only to encounter the same level again and again. It’s like a hack and slash version of Groundhog Day. Almost nothing changes to keep this game interesting.
Other problems crop up in the controls, where button presses seem to be routinely missed. Some attacks do require a short “cool down” before they’ll be active again, but even attacks that are ready for action seem to ignore button presses. Sometimes, the directional buttons are ignored, as well. It gets to be frustrating very quickly.
Colosseum isn’t a terrible game, but it’s not a great one, either. The repetitive action and gameplay combine with the repetitive levels to make one mediocre experience. And the settings don’t make much sense, either. Going from a colosseum setting with large brutes coming at you to a graveyard setting with skeletons from every side is a terrible transition. At least if the setting changed to tell a story or reflect some kind of progression it would have made much more sense.
As it stands, Colosseum is a boring, repetitive game. It’s a little fun in the beginning, especially when you start coming up against some very big, very tough bad guys. After that, however, it’s just the same thing, over and over again.