Friday Night Bullet Arena (or FNBA) is a top down multiplayer shooter, and so simple I’ve had a hard time thinking of what to say about it. That’s not a bad thing, to be sure. It does what it does, and it does it well.
It involves you and up to four friends frantically moving one space at a time around an arena, and trying to either shoot each other or knock each other off the edge. That’s it. There are no other modes, including no single player, and no online modes. The main feature keeping things fresh, are the arenas that you unlock as you play. Each has a new layout, and new twists added to keep you on your feet, such as ice, pits, blocks, blocks you can activate as cover, and more.
The game’s presentation is fairly charming, with the game being wrapped in a faux 8 or maybe 16-bit style, along with standard lo-fi bleeps and bloops, and some fine chiptunes for background music. The characters are all silly and rather memorable (my favorites being Lost Gary and Parkers, Esq.), and the visual elements convey what each object is and how it behaves. The game is incredibly easy to pick up, but hard to put down. My friends and I had a blast, playing game after game, just wanting one more game, knowing that you can surely win the next one…
There are some advanced techniques that aren’t explained, like shooting and moving in opposite directions in order to get launched more spaces and make some room between you and the opposition. In fact, almost nothing is explained, but it’s really not much of an issue, as one can easily and quickly figure out how to play, but a tutorial would have been appreciated.
The main issue is the lack of extra modes, and it would have been excellent to have the option for bots in multiplayer, or any kind of a single player mode. That’s not really what the game is about, though, and it knows it. It’s simply a multiplayer shooter, but it brings the simple, frantic fun that I relish in games such as Towerfall Ascension, ChuChu Rocket, and Bomberman.
FNBA is a bit of a one trick pony, but the trick it knows is an excellent one, and one you won’t tire of quickly.