If you've been following the gaming news at all, you know that the biggest release of the week is the latest iteration of Ubisoft's sandbox shooter Far Cry. The fourth game moves the action to the Himalayan country of "I Can't Believe It's Not Tibet," and tasks you with leading a ragtag army of rebels against an oppressive and tyrannical dictator. (Seriously, still not Tibet.) Ubisoft can't make a big-budget game without releasing a mobile counterpart, so say hello to Far Cry 4 Arena Master.
Arena Master is... well, it's basically Pokemon, with the adorable critters replaced with armed freedom fighters and actual bloodthirsty animals. The point of the game is to unleash your units into a coliseum-style death match, letting them descend upon the enemy for the amusement of the crowd. Yeah, there's a lot of stuff in this game that's morally questionable... and I don't just mean the part about setting animals loose to eat people. The fighters and the animals you unlock are all housed in your "barracks," and all of them are kept in cages that you have to unlock. Yup, the people are kept in cages too. So far we've got bloodsport, animal cruelty, slavery, and forced fighting. It's fun! Admittedly, this is a spin-off of a game where you slaughter thousands of foreigners Rambo-style, so it's not as if it's starting from the moral high ground.
Impoverished Youth With Molotov Cocktail, I choose you!
It isn't precisely clear whether you're building a mercenary army or a carnival sideshow, but since the tutorial mission has you sending out foxes and boars to fight a guy with combat armor and a machine gun, I'm leaning towards the latter. You can send some of your, ahem, "workers" out to hunt for more animals, and they can also "recruit" new warriors. In exactly the same way. Look, you're hunting for slaves to send into a death match, OK? That's what this game is about. You can even sell your slaves back when they've outlived their usefulness.
The mobile game intersects with the console and PC game in a couple of ways. Completing various objectives will increase your Arena Master rank in Far Cry 4, and unlocking fighters and animals on your phone or tablet will let you use them in the custom missions you can create in the full game.
Surprisingly, Arena Master doesn't require a copy of Far Cry 4 to play. You don't even have to log in to Uplay to try it out, and there are no in-app purchases. So if you want to get a simple little preview of FC4 on your tablet, or enhance your progress in the full game, you've got nothing to lose. Except maybe your sense of dignity.