Pixel Gladiator is a low-cost tower defense downloadable title but with real time action elements as your avatar, this cybernetic warrior guy, can also fight to repel incoming swarms of enemies. Definitely not a bad game, it is just a very difficult one.
From a 2D side scrolling perspective, the player is tasked with defending the base in the middle of the screen. With each kill, the player earns cash used for upgrading the base and enhancing firepower – typical tower defense stuff here. Uniquely, weaponry has dual functionality. Using the right trigger uses less ammo but has weaker attack strength but using the left trigger uses more ammo but yields stronger abilities. Enemies are also varied, some acting as bullet sponges while others spew puke bombs everywhere, so having access to multiple abilities at once is necessary and thoughtful.
The problem with Pixel Gladiator is that the base is always in the middle of the screen while enemy waves attack from both sides. Unlike other tower defense titles, the player is given no indication regarding where the attack is going to spawn and which types of enemies will compose the horde, adding to the steep challenge. Rarely is there enough time to murder the horde on the right side of the screen, double back get to the left side of the base, and take out those monsters before the base wall falls. Since there is so much ground to cover, it seems like this game was designed for co-op play. Unfortunately, this is a single player only experience and things start to ramp up just a few waves in.
Jumping and shooting with the twin-stick controls is an important skill to master but takes time to adjust due to the mapping of the jump action. Instead of tapping a face button, the player can only leap when up is flicked on the left stick. This will cause some accidental leaps, especially since the action can get pretty fast paced, and is never truly intuitive. Graphically, the pixel presentation gets the job done and this game is only a few megabytes of storage space so there isn’t a need to delete it from your hard drive once downloaded. Unfortunately, sometimes text boxes can overlap which makes reading more difficult than it needs to be.
Pixel Gladiator is a simple game but can offer some fun especially when considering the low cost of five dollars. The higher difficulty will make you wish for co-op play but I guess that is what sequels are for.
Also available on Nintendo Switch.
Also Play: Kingdom: Two Crowns
Also Try: the many real time defense titles on the Apple/Google store
Wait For It: Minecraft to go tower defense