REVIEW / Bloodsports TV (PC)

 

Multiplayer online battle arena games, or MOBAs, have been around for more than a decade and seem to attract fans from all over them world.  They are a different type of game where running into situations blindly will get you annihilated.  To succeed, not only powerful weapons and magic spells are important but a good understanding of the unique mechanics of the game, the ability to think strategically about the best way to conquer the arena and bringing together a group of like-minded players to team up with is crucial.  There are currently about 25 or so games in the MOBA space that have been able to carve out a niche of dedicated players.  Toadman Interactive and Fatshark Games are looking to chisel out a small corner of that space for themselves with their new game, Bloodsports TV.

 

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You can invite up to four other Gladiators to help you push back the waves of mutant volunteers.

 

A spinoff of their post-apocalyptic RPG game, Krater: Shadows Over Solside, this new MOBA is a co-op top-down hero defense game.  In the arenas, the player must take on waves and waves of angry villagers, mutants and animals to the sound of a quirky commentator in a mission to protect the glorious Missile Silo, which just happens to be locked on and ready to be fired at villages for a constant supply of fresh volunteers.  In this old school, fast-paced approach to strategic co-op games, players can team up with their friends and form a murderous crew from a variety of Gladiators, each with their own unique abilities and play styles.  Between waves you get about a minute to head to the shop, grab a few items and then it’s back out to show those volunteers that their efforts are futile.

 

BloodsportsTV shop screen.

In the shop, you can purchase and equip items with the coins that you collect from dispatching the enemies.

 

Players can choose from a group of eight different Gladiators across four different classes: Slayer (damage dealer), Bruiser (tank), Regulator (crowd control) and Medikus (healer).  Two more gladiators in each class can be unlocked later as you gain more experience points for a total of sixteen.  The game offers six different arenas with varying difficulty from an abandoned mine to an abandoned pharmaceutical plant.  In order to be victorious, you must defend the outposts on the map and the missile silo as the total destruction of these points in the arena are ultimately what the volunteers are trying to take out.  You can set up matches that include 4, 7 or 10 waves depending on the level of difficulty that you wish to endure.  Each wave has an end boss that is fairly difficult to defeat so having a well balanced group of Gladiators is crucial to being able to fend off all of the waves successfully.

 

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Each character has four unique abilities that become available as you defeat enemies that correspond to the q, w, e and r buttons. You can also purchase items that are mapped to number buttons 1 through 6 for use on the go.  All controls can be unbound from the default to a button of your choice, of course.

 

One of the areas that Bloodsports TV really shines is in the visuals department.  Where games like League of Legends have a more cartoon look to them with bright colors and fantastic characters, this game looks more war torn and gritty (think: Borderlands) with battered stop signs for arm shields and mutant villager volunteers.  Outposts are held together with rope and wire, crates are rusty and scratched from countless matches and even the missile, while it sports a cool sharks head nosecone, it is battered and dented and barley looks like it can fly.  The apocalyptic setting gives this game a unique feel and is a fresh take on the hero defense genre.

The Bloodsports TV commentator gives color commentary during the matches and helps to set the stage as he belts out his take on the action happening in the arena.  He has several good lines like, “It’s not cruelty if the animals are crueler.  Fact!”, that are amusing and fun and only adds to the ambiance.   The voice over work is very well done and the actor tapped to voice the commentator melted into the role quite nicely.  The sound effects are awesome as the roar of the missile fills the speakers as it speeds to demolish a doomed village and as the clash of make-shift weapons find purchase on the skulls of mutants and wild animals alike.  The background music is also appropriately post-apocalyptic and sets the stage for the Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome inspired battles to the death.

 

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When important events happen in the arena, the crazy announcer will let you know and give you a CC view of the action at the bottom left of your screen.

 

Players looking for a new type of MOBA to invest their time in will definitely find a good time with Bloodsports TV.  The only real issue I had was the fact that the tutorial doesn’t give a detailed rundown of the many different mechanics used in the game.  It just gives a short video presentation about the basics but nothing more than that.  Learning the in-and-outs took me a lot longer because all I could do was just click on buttons to figure out what it controlled.  However, once I figured out the HUD controls and how the shop worked, those pesky mutant villager volunteers didn’t stand a chance.

 

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Satisfyingly bloody and surreal with a good variety of different maps, weapons and offensive and defensive items.

 

You can cop your own copy of Bloodsports TV on Steam right now for $9.99 which is a decent price for the amount of re-playability that this game packs.  A lot of people are currently enjoying the game as I never had a problem jumping into a game already in progress or setting up my own server and getting other players to join my games.  Bloodsports TV relies heavily on teamwork and having a well-rounded group of Gladiators to fulfill the necessary roles to be victorious.  The game is easy enough to get into and deep enough in features to keep you coming back for more.

 

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