Review: Gauntlet
The reboot of the classic game by Arrowhead Game Studios!

The reboot of the classic game by Arrowhead Game Studios!

If you’ve been a gamer for any considerable length of time, you’ve probably at least heard of Gauntlet. If you immediately start to think of how Gauntlet Legends or Gauntlet Dark Legacy were your favorites, then you can fuck right off. This Gauntlet game was designed for badass curmudgeons that wasted too much time grinding pointless dungeons for pointless treasure to give their pointless life a point. This latest iteration is an ode to the Gauntlet games of old, and though a bit short, it doesn’t fail to deliver.

Gauntlet, for those unfamiliar, is a dungeon crawling hack and slash game with the ability to play in a party of up to 4. Parties can be formed online, or if you’re the type of loser that has real life friends, they can join in on local co-op. The player(s) are sent through a series of dungeons where they dodge traps, take down hordes of monsters, and kill the big bad evil guy at the end, just to do it once more in a different dungeon. Much like the original game, the player(s) can select from 4 characters (5 with DLC): the Warrior, the Valkyrie, the Wizard, the Elf and (as DLC) the Necromancer. These characters vary from each other much more than the original Gauntlet, and are designed to support each other’s romp through the dungeon.

You and 3 friends (or strangers) can get mauled to death together!

You and 3 friends (or strangers) can get mauled to death together!

Not all characters are created equal for solo-play, however. The Valkyrie is far and above the easiest to go solo with, as she sports a handy shield that can deflect practically all damage if she faces the source of the damage. The Wizard is the Batman of the group, as he has an answer for nearly any situation. While taking considerably more skill than the other characters due to a unique spell system, a good Wizard player can be nearly unstoppable. Lastly, the Elf and the Warrior lag behind in the solo play race, though it’s entirely possible to solo the entire game with them, their skills just don’t lend as well to it.

Players can spend their well earned gold on relics that can be used for various abilities during play, such as summoning copies of one’s self or stopping all enemies from attacking briefly. These relics can be used by consuming potions, and thrifty use of these potions can make or break a successful dungeon run. On top of that, each character has a few special abilities that they will rely on; for example, the Valkyrie has an awesome Captain America shield throw and the Elf can drop bombs that do considerable damage to an area. The Wizard is the top dog in this area with the aforementioned unique spell system; much akin to Magicka, a Wizard player can combine two elements together to create spells.

Thanks to Opello on Reddit for making a Wizard spell cheat sheet!

Thanks to Opello on Reddit for making a Wizard spell cheat sheet!

Difficulty is no stranger to those who are fans of the older Gauntlet games, and this iteration is no different. While you can choose your difficulty to match your level of manliness, Gauntlet’s “Unfair” difficulty is beyond brutal. Be ready to bring a group of hardened friends into the game with you if you plan to play on this difficulty, as the name doesn’t do it justice. In fact, the difficulty is where the replay value lies in Gauntlet; a determined player can breeze through the easier difficulties in a matter of hours. To reward your efforts in these higher difficulties, you can find much more gold and unlock… costumes. Yep, it’s not much of a reward, but being manly is its own reward.

Gauntlet’s graphics are somewhat basic, but given the sheer amount of enemies that can be on the screen at once, it is a necessity. That doesn’t stop the game from looking good though, the art style is spot on and everything looks and feels as a deadly dungeon of death and dungeoniness. The sound effects really add some umph to the skills as they mow down hordes of skeletons and mummies, and the special effects are subtle enough not to take from the action and yet pronounced enough to easily spot in the chaos.

Be ready to fight hordes of monsters!

Be ready to fight hordes of monsters!

To help remedy the problem of a short lived story mode, Gauntlet now has a Colosseum mode, which is currently in it’s 3rd season. The Colosseums are special single room arenas where players are faced with waves of enemies, and the reward for defeating a 6 wave arena is, yep, you guessed it, a costume piece. Colosseum arena scores are tracked on a leaderboard as well, so if you and your friends are bad enough dudes, you could end up claiming a spot at the top. Season 3 was just released as of April 1st, 2015, and it appears that Arrowhead Game Studios intends on releasing several more before all is said and done.

Ultimately, Gauntlet can provide a difficult old school dungeon romp at a low retail price of $19.99. Not only can you have a blast by yourself, you can join others online or invite some buds over and play some local co-op while drinking the night away. If you’re at all a fan of the original Gauntlet game, you owe it to yourself to play this game.

Good Ole Score: 8 out of 10.

Good Ole Score: 8 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Great local and online multiplayer.
  • Tried and true original Gauntlet style dungeon delving.
  • Difficulty ranging from easy to rage induced stroke.
  • Relics and achievements that add some progression, but nothing relies on items/loot.

Meh:

  • Classes aren’t all suited for solo play. While certainly possible with all classes, some are easier than others.
  • Only real rewards for difficulty completions are cosmetic.

Cons:

  • Story mode is short, could easily be beaten in a long night of gaming.
  • Static dungeons and brutal difficulty can lead to high amounts of repetition.
Brandon

About Brandon

Brandon (AKA Maphreal) belongs to the dynamic duo of podcasters here at Good Ole Gamers and is a proud member of the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race.

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