Developer: Chillingo
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Etolis Arena reminds me a good deal of Unreal Tournament when it first came out. Instead of using a planned storyline, Unreal Tournament used some hokey side story to explain why you were stuck in a death match against countless people. It did go on to revolutionize the online FPS genre, however, which is quite a bit more than I can say for Etolis Arena.

The basic story in Etolis Arena is that you are the star of a death match for the queen’s entertainment, meaning that the queen will give you weapons to make things entertaining, but you will die. As you progress throughout the fairly standard dual stick shooter, you’ll earn honor points which allow you to buy better weapons. Much like The Running Man, it’s a kill or be killed ordeal, except in this one you have no chance.

With no story to speak of and no real motivation to go on other than gameplay, I have to say that the attempt is extremely average. You do get a decent assortment of guns and grenades, but the enemies have no personality. Even the above average graphics can’t get me past the fact that progressing throughout the game feels more like a chore than a challenge. Just run around the screen shooting everything you see and you’ll be just fine.

What Etolis Arena really needs to be successful is a purpose. Since there isn’t a real multliplayer mode a la Unreal Tournament, the game needs to try to fake the real life fear of dying. Perhaps if they gave every character a 1-2 hit limit before they die, and then let them lean around walls for kills I would be more happy. I don’t know. All I do know is that in its current form, Etolis Arena is on the lower end of the dual stick shooter spectrum.

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