Everyone knows the easiest solution to debt is to throw yourself in the gladiator ring. Every foe you kill is another gold piece in your pocket and your debt will shrink in no time! At least that's the solution in Alchemists' Poor Gladiator, for iOS and Android users alike. The whole point of this free high difficulty game is to defeat the unforgiving debt by finding the right balance between payments and buying another skill point to make yourself closer to be the Conan of the Colosseum. In this mix between a incremental idle and simulation game, your little fighter handles all the physical parts of entertaining the crowd and you're more like his accountant spending money left and right or saving up for when the debt collectors call, which is about every thirty seconds. You can give him orders by tapping and holding your finger on one part of the screen and he'll ignore all the bad guys in order to get to where you are. You can also tell him when to use his special powers, but only after you unlock them with a little bit of gold you earned from the newly deceased fellow fighters.
Game play mechanics are really that simple, but the game itself is complex. It's all about strategic balance. Do you spend more on your charisma, which lets you earn more per kill, or your dexterity to dodge incoming attacks and land your own with more accuracy? There really isn't one overpowered skill for you to dump all your gold into unless you're ready to see the picture of your tombstone pop up on the screen. Sometimes the crowd cheers you on by throwing objects at you; diamonds give you more money, potions up a random skill by one point, and mushrooms return you to full health no questions asked. However you're usually on your own to better yourself. There are plenty of leagues to jump into and the harder they are the more gold you get. The more gold you get the better you can be and the higher league you can go into. It's a nice little cycle if it wasn't for the fact every payment you make after thirty seconds, the minimum payment goes up, and interest piles on. So your measly little debt of ten thousand ends up nearing a million before long.
One of the best things about this game is no micro transactions, although the only one that could be installed soon is one to pay to get rid of the ads, that consist of a little banner and a pop up between dying and restarting. Nothing to tempt you into spending your money and gameplay is built about how well you can manage things instead of how much they can push you to throw cash their way. A very good thing, as this game already lets you feel the stress of debt. It is easy to start having anxiety over how fast your debt increases even with you paying it off. It feels like one big black hole that you'll try again and again to overcome. It will take a few... okay a lot of playthroughs to do this as there is no mercy with your debtors. Missing just one piece of gold? Too bad. Prison. You would have had enough less than half a second later? What a shame. Prison. Your kids are going to be lost in poverty forever? At least you won't see it because, Prison. There is no save button either. The only things that passes over to your new reincarnation is powers you unlocked and your knowledge of what you did wrong. Poor Gladiator does have a happy ending, or so I'm assured (playing this for days and I still slip up somewhere and have to start over), but it's the game itself that will keep you coming back. Horribly addicting in all the right ways, you'll find it tough to put it down.