Domina combines multiple genres to demonstrate what it took to run a successful ludus in the ruthless arenas of ancient Rome.

Ever since Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas, people were fascinated by ancient Rome’s brutal gladiatorial fights. More recently, we were able to watch Ridley Scott’s Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. But it seems to me that Domina is also taking its cues from TV show Spartacus: Blood and Sand and its prequel Gods of the Arena. This assumption is based on the fact that Domina is not only an action-heavy arena brawler, but also a simulation game in which players are tasked to run their own ludus.

Players take on the role of a Roman citizen determined to elevate his father’s ludus “from the muck and mire of shameful defeat”, and restore its former glory by ruthlessly bludgeoning gladiators from opposing camps. You will have to be strategic and cunning “to win favor from powerful Romans to increase the odds of victory in the arena and elevate your family name, all while trying to keep a group of brutish warriors focused, alive, and victorious”.

You will be able to buy and train gladiators in specific weapons and styles of combat. You’ll also have to keep an eye on resource allocation, upgrades, political tides, and maintaining a balance between short-term and long-term goals. The storyline includes roguelike elements that can either contribute or harm the success of your ludus. Naturally, you’ll be able to get in on the bloody action of the fights themselves. And if action is all you’re interested in, you’ll have the option to hire a wide array of characters that will take care of training, medical attention, armament repairs, etc. for you.

Domina is coming to Steam in less than two weeks, on April 4, so mark the date on your calendar if this looks like something up your alley.

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