by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Virtual Chores - The Best Kind
Video games carry a wide variety of tasks for players to accomplish, from saving the world to running a business. Strangely, both of these can be equally compelling depending on the execution. A genre of games that emphasizes business are known as 'simulators', and the vast majority of these games have some form of that word in the title- one of the exceptions to this rule is the new Early Access title Arena Renovation.
Arena Renovation has gamers take the role of a one-man renovation team- tasked with bringing sports facilities back to their former glory after a long history of use and or neglect have made them fall from grace. This is done in three sections that are each tracked separately: Cleanliness, which involves the removal of trash, damaged objects, and graffiti. Renovation, where players redo the floors, walls, and ceilings with fresh coats of paint. And Furnishing, in which gamers purchase furniture for the rooms to make them prepped for use.
With each of these systems being tracked separately in Arena Renovation, it allows players to go at their own pace- fully completing a room before moving to the next or going around and making sure that all trash is cleaned in the entire property before moving on to the next step. Every action nets gamers some EXP as well as cash which can be used to further improve your abilities, both literally in terms of EXP and in making everything look nice by purchasing specific furnishing options. Leveling up earns you skill points, which can improve the speed of doing tasks, the amount of trash you can fit in a single trash bag, or even the amount of money or EXP that you earn per task. This reviewer found that investing in future gains early on was the best bet- since the speed of tasks even to start isn’t particularly grueling. This meant more funds going towards customizing rooms to your preference, or to save up for the ‘flipping’ mechanic that is unlocked partway through the game where you purchase locations, clean them up, and sell them for a profit.
Arena Renovation is an Early Access title, and per the game's Steam page will remain so for a period of about six to twelve months allowing for improvements to be made- and there are certainly a few this reviewer noticed that should be looked at in order to polish up the game and make it something special.
The first issue in Arena Renovation is the clunky controls with no controller support- players aren’t able to move scaffolding or pick up trash unless they swap their 'tool' to an empty hand, and the act of swapping tools is not always intuitive. Mouse sensitivity can also be quite finicky and need fine-tuning so your character isn't swinging around at high, almost uncontrollable, speeds.
The next problem this reviewer discovered with Arena Renovation involves loading- it takes an inordinate amount of time to load into one of the sports centres, and the game actually seemed to freeze during these load times on occasion. That being said, once inside an area all of the loading is complete and there aren't constant load screens going from room to room, so it is possible the loading only needs to be optimized.
In all, Arena Renovation has a lot of potential to be a very fun game, especially once the Early Access period is over and the developers have time to make certain that everything is prepared for a full release. The act of witnessing these dilapidated sports centres being brought back to life makes for a particularly satisfying experience, the level up system lets players feel a real sense of progression, and the game provides plenty of options to furnish areas to suit your aesthetic purposes. There are still some kinks to work out, particularly in long load times and clunky feeling controls, but this reviewer feels it's safe to say that Arena Renovation is a game to keep an eye on, especially if you're a player that enjoys the more grounded 'Simulator' games!
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Satisfying Experience, Level Up System, Lots of Options for Furnishing
Clunky Controls, Long Loads