Squareboy Vs. Bullies: Arena Edition for Vita/PSTV was developed and published by Ratalaika Games. The game is obviously heavily inspired by Gameboy/NES era beat 'em ups and brawlers, but is it a heavy-hitter like the games of the genre from that era or is it a featherweight unworthy of your attention? We feel that it's a solid game that falls a bit short of the greats of yesteryear, however we still liked the game and here's why!
The story in the game is silly to say the least, but does seem to take some inspiration from the 80's martial arts flick Karate Kid and it's all lighthearted fun. Don't expect a story-heavy experience though as gameplay takes center stage and it's quite fun actually. Basically you must fight your way through a bunch of stages filled with bullies with your limited fighting moves and certain weapons and objects that can be obtained from enemies or picked up and thrown at them to cause major damage.
Exclusive to the Arena version of the game is Arena Mode where you fight in a fixed area of various stages while progressively bigger hordes of bullies appear to attempt to overwhelm you. This can be a fun little distraction, but is ultimately little more than that.
Overall Squareboy Vs Bullies: Arena Edition is a very solid game, but it's got it's share of problems. First off, the game is very short in length and can be beaten 100% "Platinum Trophy included" within an hour or two, which is shorter than we had hoped. The gameplay can also get repetitive very fast. After beating the game we didn't feel the need to play again, though the Switch version was a little different with its co-op which we'll explain in a bit further detail in our review of the Nintendo Switch version of the game!
Secondly, the game is also extremely easy and posed very little challenge which is a definite miss because challenging gameplay is a must in the scrolling brawler / beat 'em up sub-genre.
Back to the positives, Squareboy Vs. Bullies: Arena Edition has flawless easy to learn controls that will allow players of any skill level to play well which is a definite plus, especially for retro-inspired games such as this one!
The audio-visual presentation is also fantastic with authentic 16-bit graphics that are quite detailed and the unique art style of the squaretastic characters. Everything comes together perfectly on a visual standpoint. And while not quite as good as the visuals, the soundtrack was enjoyable and fits the game well.
With solid gameplay , flawless controls, and a fantastic audio-visual presentation, Squareboy Vs. Bullies: Arena Edition for the Vita/PSTV is a fairly enjoyable worthwhile experience that fans of the beat 'em up genre should enjoy, however the game is a cakewalk to beat and short to boot so it may not be for everyone. Regardless we enjoyed the game despite its flaws and feel that it's a diamond in the rough so to speak and as such we give the game a decent level of recommendation!
Score: ★★★★★★¾☆☆☆ 6.75/10
#Review #RatalaikaGames #Vita #PSTV #Switch #Brawler #SquareboyVsBulliesArenaEdition
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