Starblood Arena

Starblood Arena

Energetic virtual arena combat mixed with a splash of motion sickness.

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VR games, like with many other areas of video games, are slowly getting a foothold when it comes to competitive multiplayer, with RIGS and Battlezone being the most notable games doing this so far. Developer White Moon Dreams is now offering up a fresh challenger in Starblood Arena, a game that, like many others, sees you take to the cockpit to kill enemies.

The objective is simple: destroy your opposition and win by collecting the most points. Matches either have a time limit or kill count and after dying the player spawns back into action in no time. Aside from removing gravity, Starblood Arena adds a Z axis to its gameplay, which in other words means you can fly freely in every possible direction with your small spaceship while shooting at other spaceships.

Controlling this free roaming action takes a bit of time to learn, but Quake without gravity" has more in store. You can give your ship a small boost by using the turbo function, for example, and you can also do a barrel roll in every axis. In terms of the weaponry available to you, your ship features a cannon but also has mines, missiles, and special weapons as well. The tutorial section tries to explain all of this, but in the end is far too long and you forget a lot of it by the time your first match roles around. This means that Starblood Arena requires a lot of twitch skills and a decent memory, but on the other hand, practice makes perfect.

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Regarding the combat arenas, these are all pretty similar to each other, bit each has eight starships fighting each other in a relatively small space, so there's no shortage of action. Death is a frequent occurrence as a result, and 360 degree movement can be put to good use by navigating the multiple levels and narrow pipes in the arenas. Also, depending on the map there can either be useful or harmful surprises like minefields, turrets or repair droids, and it's clear map design clearly been one of the focus points, as the movement and fighting come across as dynamic and natural.

Starblood Arena

There are a few game modes, most of which are familiar territory. Aside from deathmatch and team deathmatch, there are carnage modes, which feature specific challenges depending on the map, and there's also ones that see you play with a ball, as well as escort missions. The developers are clearly fans of multiplayer, since they're trying to bring all sort of fun elements together into their game, and this includes co-op, as you can play with a friend against AI opponents, or online against other human players.

Just like its map design, Starblood Arena also sports a great visual design. The game looks really nice, and the high frame-rate ensures that the movement feels smooth. The comic-inspired art style finds a nice balance between taunting enemies and characters telling jokes too, but the experience is somewhat tainted by long loading times and cumbersome menu screens before the actual match starts. Also, the music is rather generic rock or punk, which grows annoying after a while.

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Customisation also comes into play in Starblood Arena too, as tou can choose from nine different characters, each of which has their own ship. These ships each handle differently and have their own special abilities, and you can further customise these by buying more upgrades via in-game currency. Cosmetic improvements are also present and accounted for, if you're someone who likes to look the business when flying your ship.

Motion sickness can be an issue in Starblood Arena, as expected with such freedom of movement as they're offering, and the developers have tried to minimise this issue by not obstructing the player's field of vision. The previously mentioned high frame-rate also helps with this, but that said, the pace is still very high, and it caused motion sickness for us after playing just one match of five minutes. Even the tutorial can be enough to make feel ill.

Starblood Arena is a well-crafted multiplayer experience overall though, and a worthy addition to your VR library, as it doesn't take itself too seriously and features fast-paced action both single-player and online. There are some small bits of story, but no proper story mode, which is a shame, but regardless, this is a game worth checking out if you're into arena shooters. Just make sure to have a bucket next to you, in case the lack of gravity brings an unwelcome surprise.

Starblood ArenaStarblood Arena
Starblood ArenaStarblood Arena
07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
Well-crafted visuals, Polished gameplay, Energetic action, Plenty of content.
Lengthy loading times, Nausea-inducing, Steep difficulty curve, Lacks a proper campaign.
overall score
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Starblood Arena

REVIEW. Written by Ossi Mykkänen

"Starblood Arena is a well-crafted multiplayer experience overall though, and a worthy addition to your VR library."

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