Blood & Glory iPad Review

If you wind up in Rome, be sure to visit the Colosseum. Not only is it a remarkable piece of architecture, given the time it was built (70-80 AD), but you can still hear the roar of 50,000 screaming fans, visualize the emperor seated in his designated area, and see the horror of gladiators tearing each other to pieces, soft flesh giving way to sword and axe. It's a horrifying yet thrilling scene to imagine, one that makes even Mixed Martial Arts warm and cuddly by comparison.

To that end, Glu Mobile hoped to capture the essence of this brutal sport in Blood & Glory, a free to play iPhone, iPad and Android title that brings to mind last year's Infinity Blade, in that it plays almost exactly the same. The best part? It's free.

Here, you step into the arena to compete against a variety of gladiators, where the goal is to not only win a series of tournaments, but earn plenty of silver along the way.

What do you use this newfound wealth for? A plethora of weapons spread across different categories (sword, axe, mace), with such cool names as the Skull Hammer and Falcata Indomitus; you can also acquire various shields and helmets.

This being Glu, much of the game involves grinding to afford the best stuff. Either that, or you can take the easier route and pony up some dough to not only bag more coinage, but also rubies (extremely difficult to earn normally) that go towards attack, block and health potions. These precious gems also come from completing real world tasks. Following Glu on Twitter, for instance, will net you seven rubies, while applying for a Discover More card pays out 784; we don't suggest doing that last one.

As for the combat, well, it's Infinity Blade. You press either the left or right sides of the screen to dodge incoming attacks, wait for an opening and then rapidly slash the screen to turn the opposition into a bloody mess.

Of course, it's a bit more complicated. Each adversary possesses a unique weapon(s) and attack style. You must also level up throughout the course of the experience, if you intend to stand a chance in later tournaments.

It's a solid effort, especially when you factor in the impressive visuals that bring the carnage to life. The developers did quite a fine job with the arenas and character models, making Blood & Glory one the best looking free games we've seen.

We just wish it were a bit deeper. Although blood flows freely, you cannot perform finishing moves to lop off limbs. On top of that, there's no story to speak of.

Finally, two Elite tournaments require a set number of gems (150, 250) to enter, a massive sum that practically forces players to purchase rubies or miss out on experiencing the entire game...unless they want that credit card.

On the flip side, you'll still have plenty of fun with the free version. Blood & Chaos doesn't match Infinity Blade's quality or scope, but it's still one of the better smart phone brawlers games we've played. The fact that it costs zero dollars makes it worth your time.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Download Blood & Glory iOS

Download Blood & Glory Android

What's Hot: Free, detailed gladiators and arenas, quality sword fighting, decent amount of blood, wealth of items to buy, universal.

What's Not: No finishing moves, no story, no multiplayer mode, a lot of grinding to afford the cool stuff.