MultiVersus has no right to be as fun as it is

multiversus crop

My expectations were pretty darn low going into Warner Bros.’ crossover fighter. MultiVersus. The Super Smash Bros. series. was the undisputed champion of the fighting game’s platformer subgenre, and few titles could ever match its level of polish or fun factor. Nonetheless, more and more companies noticed the crossover potential of games like Smash and began creating their own for their own brands, with mixed results.

I was quite excited to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, and while there were some fun times, I was ultimately disappointed with the low production values ​​that left the game underdeveloped and unremarkable. i was hoping MultiVersus to be a repeat of that: a cheap fighting game starring classic WB characters like Bugs Bunny, Batman, and Arya Stark just wanted to ride Smash’s ponytails. You have to admit, the concept of a fighting game starring only Batman and Shaggy sounds incredibly stupid on paper.

But when I jumped into the game’s closed alpha ahead of its wide release to testers on May 19, I was deeply impressed with this deeply satisfying and polished fighting game. MultiVersus understands that Smash Bros. is as much about gameplay as it is about the crossover factor, so it brings new ideas to the genre. That could make it one of the most disruptive fighting games in years, especially as a Super Smash Bros Ultimate-size void now exists in fighting game spaces.

put your own spin on things

If you know Super Smash Bros Ultimateyou should be able to easily grasp MultiVersus. Characters have a variety of standard and special moves depending on what media they come from. These can be used on the ground or in the air as they jump and battle around large themed stages. The more a character is hit, the greater their damage and the more likely they are to be kicked from the arena and lose a life.

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MultiVersus delivers the platforming combat experience we all know and love, but unlike some of its peers, the game isn’t afraid to put its own spin on things. First of all, the characters are divided into classes like Brawler, Assassin, Mage, Tank, and Support. These classes indicate what their moveset looks like and uses in battle. Characters like Shaggy and Taz are brawlers who focus on offense with their moves, while a tank like Wonder Woman can help protect herself and minimize damage to herself or her teammates.

“Characters may be better in 2v2, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a competitive option in 1v1.”

Developer Player First Games ensures that the characters accurately represent their franchises and even the memes surrounding them. Many of Tom & Jerry’s attacks result from the cat trying to capture the mouse, Arya Stark can steal opponents’ faces, and Shaggy can carry on ultra instinct, which memes have joked he can do for a while. years. Character movesets vary wildly and can get weird, as one developer admitted to Digital Trends that they have a lot to draw from.

“It takes a lot of tailoring what the players like about the characters,” game designer Ian Rapoport told Digital Trends. “Sometimes it’s what happens in specific media, or other times it’s about how the character develops outside of their traditional media and when they interact with their community. There has a lot to draw inspiration from, with Shaggy in particular. I think there are times in some of the cartoons where he suddenly seems like a much stronger fighter than you might expect. So there’s some truth to these memes, and it was really exciting to bring them into the game.”

The fact that actors like Matthew Lillard, Kevin Conroy and Maisie Williams returned to voice their characters in MultiVersus also adds authenticity and credibility to the whole. I found myself drawn to Brawlers and attack-focused Assassins, my two favorite characters being Taz and Arya Stark. Sure, there’s room to further tweak and balance these fighters, but each character still felt very fleshed out and fun to play in this alpha build. I didn’t expect these characters to all work side by side in a Smash Bros. style family fighter, but here I’m really impressed with what Player First Games has pulled off.

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The company of two

As part of its effort to make the game stand out from the likes of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Player First Games focused on some abilities and modes that players don’t see in Competitive Smash. Namely, 2v2 play is central to MultiVersusalthough 1v1 matches are still an option.

Especially for support characters, certain abilities exist to aid teammates during a match. Many characters have link-like moves that can draw players in when they’re away. With those tethers, double jumps, aerial dodges, and aerial moves, there’s plenty of wild combo potential on and off the ground, especially in 2v2 play. Currently, 2v2 seems to be the format that Warner Bros. and Player First Games plan to use at official tournaments, including this year’s EVO. Still, Rapoport admits they recognize that 1v1 matches are an essential part of fighting games and that characters need to be viable within that framework.

“2v2 is our priority, but we want to make sure every character is viable and every mechanic is used in 1v1,” he explains. “Some mechanics are strongest in 2v2… but we know that 1v1 is a very important part of competitive games and fighting games. Characters may be better in 2v2, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a competitive 1v1 option.”

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Shaggy, Superman, Tom & Jerry and Wonder Woman prepare to battle in MultiVersus.

This unique approach to competitive gaming can transform in a suitable replacement for Super Smash Bros Ultimate now that Nintendo no longer supports this game and it also demonstrates that this game is ready to carve its own path and identity as well.

This team focus will also put a lot of pressure on the smooth running of the online experience. Fortunately, online matches ran extremely smoothly thanks to the use of the rollback netcode, although it remains to be seen how this will work once there are many people playing at the same time at launch.

That’s it, friends!

With its surprisingly well-thought-out mechanics and pleasing presentation, MultiVersus makes a great first impression when you finally get the chance to play. And many people will have this chance like MultiVerus will be free. I was able to see the free setup, which requires players to level up characters and play matches to earn two types of currencies used to unlock characters or progress through the battle pass.

In this alpha, the monetary values ​​needed to unlock characters on the battle pass seemed manageable. They’re short enough not to be strenuous, but long enough to be satisfying. In the final build, that might change for the worse, but even this alpha shows how a free setup can work for fighting games. However, a fighting game is much more than its economic model, and MultiVersus could have easily felt like a cash grab.

Fortunately, it is exactly the opposite. Lots of love for classic Warner Bros. characters. and innovative ideas for the fighting game genre are on full display here. MultiVersus is much better than you might think at first glance, so check it out during its open beta this summer, even if the trailers made you roll your eyes.

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