What if Super Smash Bros. was no longer the only Platform Fighter worthy of the name? After PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (released ten years ago), Brawlout and Brawlhalla (2017), and more recently Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl (2021), Warner Bros and the Player First Games studio are taking up the challenge with Multiversus .
It is saying that most studios will have broken their teeth on the genre: apart from the emblematic and unshakeable console-seller that is Super Smash Bros., the other games have quickly sunk into oblivion. And yet, while the game has just opened its public beta, we can already tell you: Multiversus has a bright future ahead of it .
Uncle Bros – It’s already a success
While it was in private beta until yesterday, Multiversus can nevertheless boast of having an average of 38,000 online players on Steam over the last thirty days, for a peak of nearly 150,000 simultaneous players at the opening. from beta to the general public. A number three times greater than that of Dragon Ball Fighter Z on the Valve platform, or ten times more than Street Fighter 5 or Tekken 7.
In other words, the game hasn’t even officially been released yet that it explodes the charts, and this for several obvious reasons.
The first is probably its economic model: Multiversus is free-to-play, in which you can unlock the characters without having to pay a penny , in exchange for points that you will earn in your fights. Certainly, you have the possibility of buying one of the three founder packs (ranging from 39€ to 99€) giving access to future fighters as soon as they are released, as well as skins and digital items, but they will not however influence in nothing your abilities in the arena.
The second reason, you guessed it, is its gameplay. One could legitimately doubt its quality compared to the juggernaut that is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: the latter is the fifth installment in a series that will have grown and matured over twenty years, with a team that is now well established. Well, never mind, Multiversus is inspired by some mechanics of the best, but will manage to distinguish itself from them .
The last reason is simple: the public is ready. The Switch has certainly been emulated, but playing online remains a plague on Nintendo’s servers (moments of lag have taken away cries of rage that still resonate in some minds). Knowing that nearly 30 million copies of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have been sold, we can easily imagine that these players want to try another game of the genre, especially if it is free and holds up in its online multiplayer. While Sora, the game’s newest character, was released almost a year ago , some might be starting to get bored, and Multiversus arrives as a logical sequel with perfect timing .
Great Gameplay x Netcode Ultimate
If you’re a Super Smash regular, you won’t be lost in Multiversus . The attacks and movements are relatively similar (until the taunts), except that there is no shield/guard or grab. Some levels have platforms, others don’t, just like in Masahiro Sakurai ‘s game .
However, Multiversus has certain differences, which are not just about nuance . First of all, it invites much more aerial combat. Once in the air, it is possible to make two jumps, two dodges, two special attacks, and as many horizontal attacks as you want. Moreover, the edges of the platform, as well as certain items, reset all these actions and allow you to return to the field if you reach them. This characteristic of the game, and the absence of a guard, makes the fights more nervous, especially for beginners.
The characters, seventeen in number today, but aiming for thirty for the official release of the game, are designed to complement each other, and form pairs to be adapted according to your opponents. There are four different fighter styles: the melee-comfortable slugger; the mage, who attacks from afar; the assassin, more favorable to the combo, but more easily ejected; and finally support, designed for pairs. The playstyles of the initial fighters are also varied enough to satisfy all types of players , whether casual or veteran.
Multiversus is heavily focused on online multiplayer, although you can host games locally, and 2v2 is definitely its spearhead. To ensure the pleasure of the players, the teams have done a goldsmith’s job on the netcode, and guarantee dedicated servers and cross-platform . In fact, no lag has impacted our games even during simultaneous player peaks . Nintendo should take the seed…
The game, however, remains in beta, and is not free of bugs, which is not surprising at this stage of development. The size of the iron giant, in particular, could have caused some crazy situations.
The real current problem of the game lies in the balancing between the different characters, and this is felt in the online clashes where you will come across Taz a lot (especially in a team) and Jake. Some attacks have a disproportionate effect on a team, and clearly need to be reworked.
The other random aspect is found in perks, those skills that unlock with combat and your leveling up. It would have been nice to offer a game mode without skills, in the same way that it is possible to play without objects in Super Smash. It will therefore be necessary to see over time if the assets do not unbalance the game, and if certain modes will not be added in the months to come…
However, the developers remain attentive to the community, Taz having, for example, been nerfed following multiple feedback from players; another sign of the Player First Games studio’s desire to impose its game over time, with potential online competitions in sight.
In the kingdom of fan service, Multiversus could be king
To accompany the opening of the public beta, the character of Lebron James (legendary basketball player and hero of the mediocre second Space Jam) had the right to his trailer during Comic-Con. Two other characters have already been announced for the coming weeks: Rick Sanchez and Morti Smith, the two protagonists of the Rick and Morty series.
And already, with these three announcements, we realize the potential for satisfying fans of Warner’s licenses. Just imagine: Harry Potter challenging Gandalf, Neo facing Ted Lasso, or Daenerys against Mad Max . So many improbable mash-ups that explain why Multiversus has something to dream about. What’s more, the developers will also have taken advantage of the game to surf on some of the same that have gone viral, including the unforgettable Ultra Instinct Shaggy .
Dataminers have already got their hands dirty , and it seems that emblematic figures will gradually be added to the roster, to offer a total of thirty characters when the game is officially released.
One element challenges us, however: between each new character, there is not necessarily a very substantial delay. Where several months could pass in Super Smash, only a few weeks separate future fighters from Multiversus. This duration seems very short to respond to the various feedback from players, and to make any corrections. But then again, the game is currently only in beta, and that may be the studio’s will.
As it stands, Multiversus has all the potential of a giant: fun, with a gameplay deep enough to satisfy fans of the genre, and ensuring the show in the possibilities of its roster. It remains to be seen if the studio is able to stay the course for the coming months, and offer intelligent new features after the official release of the game.
We did not expect it, but Multiversus provides both substance and form. The game, still in beta, perfectly assumes its status as a new rival to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate , from which it draws its inspiration in terms of gameplay mechanics, and manages to distinguish itself from it by its more airy and otherwise nervous game.
With quality online multiplayer, the ability to play cross-platform, and all Warner licenses at hand, free-to-play has all the keys in hand to ensure a bright future, and meet the expectations of all disappointed Nintendo servers. Provoking hype when it’s released is one thing, but maintaining interest and managing to grow its community of players until the moment of its official release will be another matter…