Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend us your ears: Ben Hur Live isn’t so hot. It doesn’t suckus maximus, but it’s a pretty poor racing game with just a few identical tracks and little of the excitement that a chariot race set in a coliseum should provide. We come not to praise Ben Hur Live, but to bury it.
You play as a chariot racer in arenas set in Jerusalem, Rome, and Egypt. However, all of the tracks look nearly identical, and the only difference is in the amount of junk littering the course. You have to avoid this debris by pulling your horses to the left and right, while simultaneously whipping them to go faster by pressing buttons on the bottom of the screen.
The view is so zoomed in on your chariot that you will be unable to challenge other racers. Instead, you just have to focus on keeping your speed up and avoiding debris. If another chariot does enter your personal space, you can tap on them to whip them and make them fall back, but that’s the full extent of the game’s combat. We were expecting some spiked wheels, at least.
Don’t just defeat your opponents. Whip them.
Further disappointing us was the absence of any online features, as the word “live” in the title would suggest. Very little about the game indicates vitality, except for the roaring crowd noises, and a live-action introduction that looks like a shot-by-shot Gladiator remake.
So why bother playing Ben Hur Live at all? Well, if you’re like us, you probably think there’s a lot of potential in a swords-and-sandals epic on the iPhone, and Ben Hur Live at least attempts to convey the excitement of chariot racing. Granted, it’s not very successful, but at least it’s not the same old aliens or zombies we’re fighting against.
If it were cheaper, and maybe improved with some new features down the road, we could see Ben Hur Live as worth your time. In its current state, though, this game is about as evocative of ancient Rome as a plate of Caesar salad.