Bet on battles in the splendid Radar Theatre


The web people seemed like a good bet. They’d be facing off against a lich and its minions, some triple-shot soldier types, and some windy warriors who can propel their enemies backwards. As it turned out, the web people were not a good bet. Their ability to snare their targets wasn’t much help when those enemies were firing twice as many bullets, could take twice as much damage, and could run rings around them.

Radar Theatre [itch page] is a pay-what-you-want game about placing bets on the participants in a gladiatorial battle and I am terrible at it.

There are no complex economic rules and the betting is as simple as choosing one of the four randomly selected factions before a round starts. They’re picked from a pool of thirty-plus, and each starts the fight with nine identical warriors. Before picking a winner, you can see their special ability and stats, and then you sit back and watch as they fail miserably. Or win. Sometimes you’ll pick the faction that actually wins.

Battles are viewed from a top-down perspective and they tend to involve an initial chaotic rush before settling into relatively predictable patterns. Special abilities pop from time to time, often when a warrior falls, and despite the abstract simplicity of the graphics, the effects are clear and even when the screen is cluttered, it’s legible.

Your only role is to pick a winner. The game doesn’t even track your cashflow and, in fact, there’s no suggestion that cash is involved because you simply select a faction rather than actually choosing how much to wager. That’s enough for me to have jumped back in every time I’ve had a spare few minutes today though and because it’s actually skill- and stat-based, I much prefer it to the silliness of Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.

Radar Theatre actually has more in common with Salty Bet, the Twitch-based online ‘casino’ that allows betting (with fictional bucks) on beat ’em up competitions, and runs 24/7 with AI vs AI rounds to fill in when there are no live competitions.

Take a seat in the Radar Theatre right now – you can pay what you like, or indeed download for free.


  1. poliovaccine says:

    Aw, I actually kinda like the easy, passive, repeatable dopamine-buttonesque gameplay loop of just picking and waiting to see if you win and repeat, but if there’s gonna be absolutely zero terrain to the fight space then I wish the sprites were just spaceships at least, with some actual slidey faux-space physics (yknow, the type that looks and feels good in games, but isn’t actually realistic because space isn’t just the same thing as being underwater) to keep the battles a little more aesthetically engaging.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Actually, they could totally stay as round little mans if they would just consent to pop and bleed in various ways when killed, I’m sure that would address the slight lack of, euh, what is it exactly? “Visual catharsis?” Whatever it is that makes Diablo II/III* so addictive and satisfying, since they’re basically just upscaled versions of this with slightly more input.

      *probably the first one too, I just never played it

      Incidentally, this in a pixel-sprite Roman gladiatorial skin is what I hoped Domina was gonna be.