Still waiting on the third season of Starz’s awesome gladiator drama Spartacus? Well, quench your bloodlust with Blood & Glory, a new game from Glu Mobile that takes players into the arena where the only possible outcomes are victory, death, or shameful surrender.

Blood & Glory is a stationary fighting game in the same vein as Infinity Blade, though with graphics that are good but not as breathtaking. However, the mechanics of the games are very similar and enjoyable. Players take on the role of a gladiator who has a sword, shield, helmet, and desire to slay his opponents. The shield adds some protection but is not invincible, so players also have to dodge left and right to avoid attacks. With the right mix of parrying, counter-strikes, and well-timed attacks, the gladiator will earn victory and financial rewards.

Coins earned for victory can purchase deadlier weapons, tougher armor, and better healing potions. Like other freemium games, players can also use real-world money to buy credits rather than earning them the old-fashion way. You can even earn/buy skill points that will increase health and attacking or blocking power. Sadly, you pretty much have to purchase these upgrades just to keep up with rivals. Rewards are so tiny and upgrades so costly that there will come a point where players have no choice but to use real cash to purchase in-game credits.

Blood & Glory is an exciting game, but it’s hampered by the saturation of upgrades and questionable on-screen controls. (The right dodge button is so far right that you will often hit the back or menu button of your phone.) Players will eventually become comfortable with the controls and enjoy the fun of using quick-thinking and attack combinations to become victorious. But that might not be enough for all mobile gamers. Anyone opposed to the freemium model of purchasing upgrades might quickly reach their limits within Blood & Glory, but the game has promise as a fun strategic fighting game.

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