I have an admission to make before you read this - I haven't played any of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. games. I know, right? I must have been living under a rock. However, I have seen footage of other people playing it, and there can be no denying that Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale looks incredibly similar, only with different licensed characters.

Over the weekend I downloaded the public beta for PABR, and I have to say I'm not entirely sure I get it. The demo gives you a pretty extensive tutorial using Parapa The Rapper, and then all you have left to do is head over to the online battle mode to test your skills against other players. Like all demos, player selection is fairly limited - you can choose between Parapa The Rapper, Kratos, Fat Princess, Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal and one of the Helghan soldiers from Killzone.

PhotobucketThe first stumbling block I experienced was actually successfully connecting to a game. My first attempts kept timing out, so I put my controller down and decided to wait (it was mid-afternoon - not everyone works from home). When I did get a game, I played as Kratos. Here comes the second stumbling block - EVERYONE in my game had chosen Kratos, so there were 3 of us jumping around the screen like idiots, desperately trying to destroy each other, in ways only the God Of War can. It was incredibly confusing, and I often found myself watching the wrong Kratos, while my GOW was being beaten into submission in the corner of the screen.

There are no energy bars - instead, successful attacks fill up your special move meter which has 3 stages. You can spend your meter at the first stage (but chances are it'll go to waste), or you can build it up to stage 3 and unleash holy hell on the other players on screen. The winner is the player who racks up the most kills as a result of special attacks. I think. I'm still not completely sure. I want to look it up, but that's cheating - I shouldn't have to look it up.

Playing as any other character besides Kratos (Helghan soldier, aside - I never got a chance to unlock him but saw other players using him) seemed particularly pointless. His Blades of Chaos have an exceptional reach and, as a result, are hard to avoid. It's only a beta, but he could do with a bit more balancing, or everyone is going to choose him when the full release comes out.

In conclusion, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale looks like it could be a lot of fun with a few beers and a few friends, even if I am still unconvinced as to whether it's "my kind of game". The demo was certainly enjoyable, but admittedly a little confusing. But then, I'm not used to four player beat em ups. Check it out for yourself before it expires on October 30th.