Week in Arcade: Spartacus Legends, Doodle Jump


This week brings forth a TV-inspired free-to-play title and a $5 title ported from mobile.

Spartacus Legends

“Wait, didn’t this come out Wednesday?” Why yes good reader it did, but Spartacus didn’t actually function until today due to a necessitated always online connection. Free-to-play and needlessly complicated to support the financial side, much of Spartacus can be played without spending any money, players thus treated a grind fest from slave to gladiatorial veteran. Or, you could just spend $150 (!) on gold to win. That imbalance splatters online play, but locks a single player title to relative combative success. Chunky and often imprecise weapon battles mirror Soul Caliber sans flash, although brutality accounts for a lot. Weapons are stab happy enough to satisfy, and the show’s production design is mirrored effortlessly. And hey, it’s “free” with Xbox Live Gold.

Doodle Jump Kinect

Step side-to-side to corral a goofy alien who persistently hops upward. Thrilling (not really). Touch controls afforded Doodle Jump massive mobile success, and the decision to work within motion control parameters bogs down precision. Doodle Jump was undoubtedly meant for touch, Kinect overextending movement and requiring a wide berth of space to even function. Small rooms need not apply. The game is, of course, harmless. Kids will enjoy watching this kooky critter fall to his doom repeatedly, while everyone else will wonder why they didn’t merely spend a buck on the mobile edition.