Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition review for PS Vita, PS4, Switch

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Switch, 3DS, PC
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Ratalaika Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Try to imagine the most basic side-scrolling beat-’em-up possible. Like, graphics, gameplay, story, everything. Have it? Congratulations, you’ve just thought up Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition.

It’s difficult to think of a more generic game than this. As the title implies, you play as a sentient square fighting off bullies, who are also square-shaped, but who are a slightly different shade of yellow to differentiate them from you. Your attacks are, essentially, punch, kick, and dropkick, and the game asks you to spam those attacks for the duration of every bland, forgettable level. There are no continues and no lives, so once you die, you have to start the level over.

I’m struggling to think of what more there is to say here. The game has horrible issues with balance, since you can basically defeat everyone with well-placed dropkicks, but you’re also pretty much guaranteed to die if you get caught between two of the titular bullies, since they just punch you back and forth until your health bar runs out. There is, in theory, a counter, but getting that in between punches can be a bit of a challenge.

Really, the only reason to check out Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition is if you’re absolutely desperate for some kind of beat-’em-up game on the go. Even then, and even at a minimal price point, it’s hard to imagine why you’d feel the need to bother with it.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: D+