Combat Hero Adventures
Bloody arena shooters are great and all, but they're just not adorable enough. Though we've long been blasting through enemies, capturing flags and holding command points, there's always been that hole left in our hearts. But all is not lost! Combat Hero Adventures by Jay Armstrong is that same arena shooty action you crave, but with new, cartoony graphics, just for you. Think a simplified Armor Mayhem with cartoony graphics and a sense of humor. But simple does not mean that there's any less action, it just means there's more bullets and less to think about. No grenades, one weapon at a time, simple weapon shop and upgrades, it all means nothing but twitchy shooting action, one hundred percent of the time. Some might call it shallow, but I'd call it pure.
The controls are simple: run, jump, pickup and shoot. You can use a keyboard and mouse combo, or keyboard solely, or gamepad, if you have one. Keyboard controls use [WASD] to move around, and the mouse to aim and shoot. No ammo, no orders, no acrobatics, and it works perfectly fine. There's the standard game modes here too, nothing you haven't seen in your multiplayer shooters, but much more adorable. There's no true multiplayer, but the bots are pretty smart, and you'll only rarely have to yell at them to flippin' defend the stupid flag when they're following you around happily. There's a shop system too, though any weapon you buy becomes available to everybody, so it's not driven as much by character advancement as it is by just wanting every shiny gun there is. There's nothing wrong with that.
In fact, there's not a lot wrong with Combat Hero Adventures at all. There's just not a lot that's new about it either. You would think that the cartoony aesthetic and simple gameplay might mean it's aimed toward younger players, but the slightly off-color humor and rampant bloodshed means it's not exactly kidsafe. It does have a campaign mode, made up of standard matches loosely tied together by a self-aware and occasionally funny storyline, but the gameplay's not really that different from the instant action mode, which is, of course, much more customizable. The weapons are well-balanced and mostly interesting, and the matches get all the more chaotic for each new gun, making it well worth it to catch them all.
So if you're looking for a quick spot of arena-style shootin' and killin', you can't go wrong here. It's not perfect and it's nothing new, but it is fun, frenetic and oh so adorable.