Imagine Colin Lane made a one-on-one weapons-based beat-'em-up set in Roman times. The result might well look a bit like Gladihoppers.

It's got all the chaotically clumsy madness of a Wrassling or a Touchdowners, but with an extra ladle or two of blood.

There are lingering questions over the game's longevity, though.

Glad handling

Gladihoppers casts you as a gladiator tasked with defending Caesar against successive would-be assassins.

Touching and sliding on the left side of the screen controls your movement - a lurching, ungainly affair that has your character leaning forward and jumping rather than walking.

Swiping the right side of the screen initiates various attacks with your weapons, while swiping up or down changes your starting stance.

It makes for some entertainingly rambunctious scraps, as you trade blows with an assortment of savage opponents.

I will have my vengeance

The trick here is to try and land a solid hit - preferably a critical - and then duck back to avoid a counter hit. It's just a shame that the precise mechanics of this remains vague even a number of rounds into the game.

While there's a certain tactile appeal to the combat, it feels a little too random and free-wheeling for its own good. Did I execute a perfectly timed overhead swipe there, or did some random algorithm stipulate that I landed a critical hit?

It's difficult to say, and so combat soon degenerates into a clumsy free-for-all.

The simple succession of fights that makes up Arcade mode doesn't really give you much more to chew on. There's supposedly a career mode incoming that will hopefully put a little meat on this bare bones effort, but it's a shame it wasn't ready for launch.

It all speaks to a game that's full of blood and fury, but which seems to tire itself out for want of fighting a little smarter.