Top Critic Average
Smashbox Arena could have been a great competitive game to play on PS VR, instead it's just another generic VR shooter with an underpopulated online community. While the VR motion tracking is on the positive end of most VR titles and the simplicity makes its accessible to about anyone; the dull gameplay, poor visuals, and overabundance of glitches make it more of a chore to play through than needs to be.
Smashbox Arena's core gameplay makes for tension-filled multiplayer showdowns, proving that simple design is all you need sometimes. However, dearths of content, modes, and polish sell it short when it could shoot for so much more.
Smashbox Arena might be amusing for some multiplayer shenanigans, but it is very rare to find anyone online to play with given the niche base of VR (with PS Move sticks, no less). The story mode is very deceptive and is really just the multiplayer stages with AI enemies and partners, with no story at all. Even the announcer for the matches sounds like he is extremely bored and is about to yawn. There is a complete lack of appeal and energy, and the overall presentation just feels like it was made by an amateur programmer and not a designer at all. The lack of controller options really hurt this - not that they would make Smashbox Arena much better, since it is nigh empty of content.
If corners were cut with the graphics, they were completely rounded over and sanded down in the music and sound department.
The truth is, even if the servers were packed, it wouldn't do much to save this shooter. Developer Bigbox VR has some interesting ideas though these are bogged down by mediocrity at every corner. You may be able to squeeze a few minutes of fun from Smashbox Arena, but beyond that it's an incredibly hard sell.
Smashbox Arena is a fun PSVR title that has some great gameplay but can be short-lived.
Smashbox Arena is not the type of game you expect to like. I thought it would be a quick and easy game to write off and call yet another mediocre attempt at utilizing the virtual reality platform. At a glance, it looks like some college programmer's senior project that they hammered out over a couple of semesters. In practice, Smashbox Arena ends up being a lot of fun, with precise tracking and fast paced competitive gameplay that hides a lot of depth and strategy, but it's ultimately held back my a number of technical issues and the lack of a strong online community.
Smashbox Arena offers incredibly fun multiplayer action, with its dodgeball antics proving to be a blast to play in virtual reality. Wiping out your opponents with a mixture of balls and brutal weapons was really satisfying, whilst the interactive moments in between matches where you could goad opposing players was a bit of a guilty pleasure. You’re just guaranteed to have a good time – even if it does have a fair few bugs that need ironing out. The only concern I have is whether or not the game will have a thriving community or not. If people keep playing the game, I could see myself hooked to Smashbox Arena for a long, long time. If not though, I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it. For now though, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and most certainly the most enjoyable multiplayer experience I’ve had in Playstation VR.
Smashbox Arena's knockout gameplay is entertaining online – assuming you can find a match. While there is a small community on the servers right now, it's difficult to predict how long that will persist, and thus purchasing is a bit of a risk. Unless you can convince friends to pick up the package, then be warned that the single player content is thin, even if the core gameplay loop is undeniably fun. More work in the art department could have elevated the release enormously, so ultimately you're left with an ugly but enjoyable multiplayer game that will be defined by the number of people who stick with it beyond launch.
Smashbox Arena features a cool concept of playing futuristic dodgeball in a virtual setting, but its execution is off just enough to make the experience feel mediocre at best.