Mayan Death Robots: Arena Review

Review Mayan Death Robots: Arena | Belgian developer Sileni Studios bring their robot arena fighting game to the Xbox One. You play in an Intergalactic Sports show where Death Robots battle each other in levels with Mayans running around worshipping them. Yes, you did just read that. Please read on to find out even more.

 

THE GOOD

  • The game has an interesting overall theme and visual style with the little Mayans that are running around the level while the Robots, named after Mayan mythological figures, duke it out.
  • When playing with a friend this game can be so much fun. When I say with a friend, I mean against them as you will play 1v1 battles. Any misadventures quickly get hilarious when you’re smack talking a buddy.
  • The campaign lasts for a couple of hours and can be played solo and local or online with a friend. The same goes for quick match and random match, but these two modes can also be played in online matchmaking. With many recent games only offering either local or online multiplayer, it’s nice to see that all options are available here.
  • When it comes to the robots fighting each other, the combat system is simple but effective. Every turn you choose a move from one of your two weapons or a jump or placing blocks in the level, kinda like Tetris. When the timer is up both players engage in that action at the same time.
  • Because of the cheap launch price (€5,60, later €7), Mayan Death Robots is an easy game to recommend when you have a game party night with friends.

 

MIXED FEELINGS

  • With six robots available from the start and four more you can unlock by playing through the campaign, there is a decent selection of fighters. Some customization options for your robot would seem logical and fitting yet this feature is not present in the game.
  • There is some flavor text in the form of a ticker with some funny messages. This is an intergalactic sports show after all. There is a vague storyline when playing through the campaign, but while I’m normally into background and lore, for this game, I never found myself very interested and just quickly skipped past the text so I could jump into the fight.
  • Every robot has two weapons, there are no pickups on the maps, which is a shame as it would force more maneuvering. Occasionally you will both get a random power weapon that you can choose to use one time.

THE BAD

  • There is no tutorial whatsoever. When you start the game, you’ll have to figure everything out. The same goes when you select a new robot. You’ll just have to fire the weapon and see what happens. While this can add some fun, there should be some information available for those who want it.
  • There are a couple of minor issues to be found, but there is one design flaw really keeping this game back. In a turn-based game, enemies should not be moving and do damage in real time. Frequently you find yourself attacked by enemy Mayans, snowmen, plants and other level hazards while there is nothing you can do. At best this will bump you and mess up your shot or jump when it starts, at worst it will just outright kill you.
  • Some boss battles suffer even more from the above, I even got stuck in a loop where I just kept dying over and over without even being allowed a single action, as the boss just kept shooting me and I had to wait in the move select screen as my opponent let the timer run out. This ruins what should be one of the highlights of the game.
  • When a new turn starts, the weapon selects that appear on screen are really big, even though they hardly tell you anything useful. On several occasions one of the selection boxes would cover a crucial part of the screen, making me have to pick my next move almost blindly as I couldn’t see the level.

 

Score: 68% | Mayan Death Robots is a fun game that does several things right but is held back from being truly great by a couple of design flaws. Still, if you play this with a friend, it’s easy to have a good time. Just don’t expect to be playing this all the time.

Patrick spent 8 hours on the game before writing the review, earning 510 Gamerscore. Thanks to Sileni Studios for providing the review code.

 

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