Domina is what happens when someone says, “Hey, I want to make a roman gladiator management simulator in which the usefulness of each individual character is relatively accurate in the grand scheme of gladiator fighting.” In other words; It doesn’t matter who the guy is, he’s probably going to be murdered or SUPER pissed off that you didn’t get him drunk because he’s a war god and run away in the middle of the night.
Not a single dick in the game. 0/8.5 not a fan.
Just kidding, slaughtering dudes while wearing a cock sheath is fun. If you like gladiators, management simulators, and just all sorts of hard to manage guys wearing dresses, this is the game for you. The AI does plenty good of a job at fighting, or, at least, better than I do, if you increase your AI’s ability to fight, which somehow has a stat, but, hey. It’s a game, and it’s crazy.
The violence is incredible. Sprays of blood and shields being thrown across the arena aside, the graphics have that pixely “Gods Will Be Watching” look, and, while it’s that violent, it’s a lot easier to swallow because it’s not a personal story. It’s just some random guy who fights for you until you put him to death, he dies, or you free him. (lol, free him… Dude’s dead in 3-4 fights, tops.) The graphics are a bit messier and I suppose “Cloudy” would be the best way to explain it, just a lot less pixels per-character than Gods will be Watching, but, they do their job without going overboard. Each piece of armour has a different colour and different look, so, it’s easy to see what someone is wearing before they die. The music is great. The music reminds me of Mother Russia Bleeds, and that’s a huge compliment if I’ve ever given one.
The most important thing is to automate as much of the game as possible. Find a way to produce food or water aside from fighting, because putting swords through a bunch of bloodthirsty slaves is expensive. Manage a team of warriors, and get them all ready for combat, because fighting happens quick in Domina. – both the battles being quick, and the time between scheduled fights. And once you start thinking you have some hulked out beefcake that’s ready for the big time, the AI brings out some supermutant that is so freakin’ ape he just murders your star athlete in a few quick thrusts from his trident.
For 10 bucks, you’re getting a really nicely put together game. It’s just freakin’ fun. You’re gonna fail the first 800 games you start, because you’re gonna try to build up too big and forget to buy food or something, and then you’ll starve, but, the game’s designed around attempting to build an empire in a period of history that was known for the rise and fall of businesses involved in slave labour. It’s just not really feasible that you’re going to be important for long enough to matter. Hold on for as long as you can, and eventually, your beloved world-class Crixus knock off will get murdered by lions. It’s just bound to happen. When it does, just try and get the next guy to do okay enough to keep up. That’s the goal, try to get a couple guys who are decent, and build up replacements for when they eventually fall. The only major gameplay complaint that I have is that the lead up to fights is about 4-5 seconds long, and the actual combat lasts about 2 seconds, because if you don’t have a gladiator who can murder someone in 2 seconds, you’re probably not going to win.
The in-game combat is plenty of fun to try out on your own, but MAN is it super difficult. The fighters get so fast and react so quickly that it’s easier to just play manager and let the AI get your dude killed for you. It also helps you blame the game instead of your lack of ability to control them in a fight. The controls are crisp and responsive, but you’re just not going to beat the AI because it’s better than you. It just is, and there’s not much to be done about that. One of the coolest features this game has is that it automatically turns your fights into gifs so you can spam the shit out of your friends on twitter with them. It’s pretty cool. Also, the twitch integration was a smart move by the developer – if it automatically happens, it’s easy to get people to stream your game!
Get this game right now if you’re into management simulators, gladiators, supporting companies that make jokes about dicks, any kind of violence, or that TV show Spartacus. It kinda covers all those fronts. Oh, except zero dicks, Spartacus had TONS of dicks. If you’re into dicks, go watch Spartacus, seriously.
Disclosure: We talked WAY too much about dicks during this review, but we got the game for free.
Check out the Developer: Dolphin Barn