A cute pixelated aesthetic mixed with frantic, arena-based shootouts: Super Treasure Arena is charming and fun, but no one else is playing it.

With the Early Access version of Super Treasure Arena available on Steam right now, players can follow indie developer Vennril’s work on the energetic new game as it is updated. Irrelevant Gamer played version 0.9.1, so some aspects of the game covered in this review may have changed by the time it is completed.

Visuals

The first thing you notice about Super Treasure Arena is its arcade-inspired look. Reminiscent of games from several decades ago, STA is entirely made up of pixel art.

The pixel art means that even when a map is set in a dungeon, the game still manages to feel peppy and upbeat – skeleton warriors aren’t so threatening when they have barely any details. The visuals all contribute to the game’s fun, energetic feeling, and they give STA a definite indie vibe.

There are six arena maps at the moment: Dungeon, Courtyard, Glade, Cove, Hideout, and Throne. “Dungeon” and “Throne” are almost the same with their stony walls and maze of rooms, except “Throne” unsurprisingly has a big throne as a central feature.  “Courtyard” and “Glade” both involve greenery and plant life, and “Cove” and “Hideout” give you a tropical island feel, with beaches and wooden docks. The different locations provide a decent variety to the maps.

Gameplay

STA has both Online and Local Multiplayer. They both have the same two game modes available; the only difference is the distance between you and the other players.

Initially, I chose Online Multiplayer, as I figured I would be able to play with random people online. I waited in a lobby for almost ten minutes before I realised no one else was playing this game. Thankfully, STA gives you the option to play against CPUs, so I ended up doing that in every subsequent match I played.

 

Ignore the embarrassing Steam name.

This was my biggest problem with the game: there is no one else online. At the moment, it seems as though you would either have to coerce a few of your friends into buying the game and play with them, or simply be content to always play against CPUs.

This issue might be remedied by the releases of the Xbox One and PS4 versions in 2017, when STA will be able to reach a much wider audience. The fact that the game is not completely finished yet might also be putting people off from buying it on Steam right now.

It’s a shame, because STA would genuinely be a fun game to play with friends. There is potential for a lot of good memories to be made while playing this game, as the whole objective is to quickly eliminate each other while earning the most coins.

In classic mode, you’re given three minutes to rush around the arena, collect the best weapons, and kill both monsters and your fellow players for coins and health. At the end of the three minutes, the player with the most coins wins the match.

The weapons available vary from a bow and arrow to a set of bombs to throw. In my experience, explosives were the best for taking enemies out. You also have the ability to block attacks, but only for short periods of time, to avoid spamming.

There are five characters you can play as, obviously inspired by classic RPG roles (excluding the ninja). These characters all have their own special move, which charges itself up over time. My top choice is the mage, as their special move causes fireballs to erupt in a huge area around them, killing every creature nearby.

As well as the mage, you can also play as a warrior, rogue, mystic, and ninja. Special attacks can be hugely useful in the arena, so it’s recommended that you try out each character and see which special suits your playing style best.

Along with classic mode, STA provides a “Treasure Run” mode, where the objective is to carry a chest filled with ten coins to your base without being killed by the other players. Your character moves frustratingly slowly while carrying the chest, but it’s a fun alternative to the classic style of playing.

Audio

STA pretty much has two tracks that play – one during set up which has a dynamic, epic feel to it, and another during matches, which is quick and upbeat, practically saying “we’re all friends here”. There are also cheering sound effects when you manage to kill another character or take a chest to your base.

Altogether, the audio adds a playful atmosphere to the game.

Conclusion

For an indie game developed entirely by one man, Super Treasure Arena is impressive. It features enjoyable, fast-paced gameplay and would be fun to play with friends.

However, there are still some aspects of the game that need to be tweaked before it leaves the Early Access stage. I noticed a couple of problems when I was playing that were either due to bugs in the game, or due to a lack of information on how to operate it, both of which could be remedied by the developer. Despite these flaws, it looks incredibly polished, especially for an Early Access indie game.

If you’re looking to make a small purchase on a game that will pass the time and provide a few laughs with friends, then Super Treasure Arena is right for you.