It’s always surprised me that gladiator arenas aren’t more prominent in gaming. So many games are focused on match-up brawling, tournament progression, player improvement, and now multiplayer. A major gladiator arena game seems like a natural fit with gamers’ favorite activities. Despite that, there really isn’t a definitive gladiator game out there on major consoles.
There are, however, a number of gladiator-related games that you can access on mobile devices (and browsers), and some of them are surprisingly satisfying. Let’s take a look at some of the best titles in this little genre…
The I, Gladiator game by Burlington Trading, Limited is one of the more artful combat and RPG experiences you can find for mobile. Claiming to be based on gladiator films of the past, the game sets you up controlling Rufus, a warrior pawn at the center of a war between the gods. The only way to secure your destiny is to battle through a series of arenas, facing greater challenges and improving your weapons and armor along the way. The controls are easy to get the hang of (basically swipe-based combat), but it’s the visual design—hand-drawn animation of a gorgeous quality—that steals the show.
While I, Gladiator claims to have been based on gladiator films, the Gladiator sSlots game at Gala Bingo seems to be the only prominent game out there that’s directly based on such a movie. Employing music, scenes, and character portraits from the 2000 Russell Crowe film Gladiator, it brings an exciting atmosphere to an otherwise traditional slot machine format. It’s not an independent mobile game, but you can access it through the bingo platform’s mobile app and enjoy a different kind of gladiator gaming.
Blood & Glory
This may actually be the best-known title in gladiator gaming, and in fact it covers two titles by Glu Games: Blood & Glory: Immortals, and Blood & Glory 2: Legends. The first game is more of a free-flowing adventure in which you control one of three characters (Gladiator, Warlock, or Barbaress) on an RPG quest to battle the gods and fend off their wrath. But it’s the second game that really embraces the spirit of gladiator fighting as we all understand it—it’s basically set up as a series of arena battles. Frankly, the game is a lot like I, Gladiator, but it has more realistic 3D graphics and arguably a smoother fighting system.
Hercules: The Official Game
Another Glu Games app, Hercules: The Official Game is based specifically on the 2014 Dwayne Johnson film. Though it involves the 12 labors Hercules famously fought through in addition to fighting pit action and other battles, it’s functionally very similar to the second Blood & Glory game. The graphics and gameplay are almost identical, though some might actually argue that the Hercules game offers more variety in characters and game modes.
Rage Of The Gladiator
Huuuge Games answer to games like I, Gladiator and Blood & Glory 2: Legends is equally satisfying, but for different reasons. Featuring similarly impressive 3D graphics to Blood & Glory 2: Legends with the same touchscreen slashing action that’s become standard for POV combat games like these, it’s yet another gladiator game that feels like the others in a lot of ways. Where it excels in a unique way is actually with the opponents you face. Every fight is effectively a “boss fight,” pitting you against a challenging enemy with individual attacking styles and even characteristics conveyed via voice acting.
That about does it for gladiator gaming on mobile devices. There are some other games that have various similarities to these selections, but these are the only pure gladiator games worth looking into. It’s still surprising that some of the most fascinating fighting games in human history haven’t produced a bigger, definitive experience, but these are some pretty entertaining options that can keep you busy for a while.