MultiVersus review – more than just another Super Smash Bros. clone

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Characterful fighters, a expert skill ceiling, and a co-op emphasis with real depth makes Warner Bros. MultiVersus a very pleasant surprise.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by MultiVersus when information technology leaked. We’ve seen countless platform fighters claiming Super Smash Bros across the decades, ordinarily falling flat. Fifty-fifty Sony’south own attempt with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was middling, so I didn’t specially rate a Warner Bros crossover’s chances. I’ll gladly admit those initial impressions were incorrect. Even as a free-to-play game, that carries the usual monetisation pitfalls, MultiVersus sets itself apart where it matters.

Y’all can attribute some of that to the unusual MultiVersus character roster, which isn’t particularly cohesive. Packing 18 fighters with more planned, they all fall under Warner Bros. Discovery’s licensing, but mixing Game of Thrones characters with Bugs Bunny just feels strange, no thing how you slice it. That said, I never questioned it once I started playing – anybody’southward been well adapted. That’due south helped by voice actors reprising their roles, with Kevin Conroy and Matthew Lillard returning for Batman and Shaggy respectively every bit major highlights. It’s a shame MultiVersus doesn’t requite each franchise a specific loonshit to complement its cast, though you’ll spot familiar sights similar the Bat Cave.

It’s worth studying each grapheme beforehand, since MultiVersus groups them between five classes. We’ve got the heavy-hitting bruisers, agile assassins, defensively-minded tank class, ranged mages, and back up classes who’re better at buffs than damage. I appreciate this variety and the game prioritises 2v2 team fights equally its principal way to play, those support classes in particular helping MultiVersus to lean into this co-op emphasis well. (There’s besides 1v1 fights and 4-player free for all’s but, annoyingly, no local co-op, which is a shame.)

Hither’south a Digital Foundry tech comparison between MultiVersus and Super Blast Bros. Ultimate for a serious deep-dive.

This ways that simply knowing your own grapheme’s strengths isn’t enough – working together with teammates is essential, with victory requiring a coordinated endeavor. Thankfully for an open up beta, on the character side everything feels surprisingly well-balanced as well, slightly stronger exceptions like Finn and Velma bated. What nosotros’ve currently got works well and no character feels unusable. I had a couple of moments where some hit boxes felt slightly off, which isn’t great, though I tin’t imagine this won’t be tweaked before the full release. Either way, securing victories feels satisfying.

Once a match starts, anyone that’southward previously played platform fighters will find this familiar. Similar Smash Bros, MultiVersus forgoes traditional health bars for a impairment meter, letting you lot launch foes off the sides of the loonshit with greater ease upon taking more hits. Each fighter has a defended dodge, double bound, and two attack buttons, which vary depending on directional input or if you’re airborne. Piece of cake enough for newcomers, and while I won’t detail every technique going, between strategically timed downwardly spikes, juggling, air combos, and other tactics, at that place’south a reasonable skill ceiling for the more seasoned veterans, too. Mind those ledges, though – yous can’t grab onto them, simply you tin cling to a wall’s sides and jump up, essentially climbing it. Recoveries experience more skillful as a consequence, and I’m all for it.

Multiversus review - match loading screen showing Wonder Woman and Morty vs Shaggy and LeBron James

Multiversus review - three modes selection screen, showing 1v1, teams, and FFA

Adjusting to these mechanics took fourth dimension but once I got to grips with MultiVersus, I had great fun in these fights. Combat is suitably frantic but being rudely launched off-stage aside, y’all feel in control. Motility is nice, landing that well-timed charge set on was enjoyable, and successfully dodging a tricky attack is a rush. When playing online, functioning remained smooth, and I never suffered whatsoever noticeable lag. That’southward thanks to its dedicated server-based rollback netcode, music to any fighting fan’south ears, backed up by full crossplay.

In one case a friction match finishes, characters level up individually. This provides several new rewards called “perks”, which let you buff fighters in small-scale but significant ways. Between utility, defensive, and offensive perks, you can equip iii at once and if your teammate has a matching perk, it becomes Stacked for increased performance. As examples, Lumpy Space Dial gives your squad 5% increased melee assault harm in the air, bumped upwardly to 10% when Stacked. Everyone’s got unique signature perks too, like Atomic number 26 Behemothic’s Afterburners ability, which leaves firewalls afterwards igniting his rocket boots.

Multiversus review - a match in action in a kind of colusseum

Multiversus review - the perks window

Multiversus review - a match in action on a grassy level with waterfalls either side

This is where MultiVersus really differs from Smash Bros and there’s some great diversity betwixt these picks, encouraging you to experiment with unlike styles. Will they win you the battle? Not necessarily, though the right perk could provide that extra border for abilities you may otherwise observe defective.

There’s considerable depth to MultiVersus and by making it costless to play, it becomes a lot more outgoing by removing that initial barrier. My biggest business organization here, which I’d apply to most free to play games, lies in monetisation. Correct now, merely one graphic symbol, Wonder Woman, is permanently free. Everyone else rotates every bit a set up of four free choices every two weeks. Losing access to your preferred fighter can be frustrating if they aren’t unlocked, though the rotation scheme does encourage trying out others.

Multiversus review - unlocking Finn from Adventure Time

Multiversus review - the character select screen with Jake from Adventure Time selected

For those who don’t want to wait, nosotros’ve got two permanent unlock methods. Firstly, you can purchase them for 700 Gleamium, premium in-game currency that’s only available in bundles and equally reference, chiliad Gleamium costs £7.99/$9.99. Thankfully, the other option isn’t microtransaction reliant, as characters can generally be purchased for 2000-3000 gold coins. Different Gleamium, coins are earned via matches or completing challenges and using this method didn’t experience too bad. After an hr, I’d hit 2000 coins and chose Finn. It doesn’t need long, which is peachy news if y’all’re eyeing up a sure graphic symbol.

It’s maybe one of the better implementations I’ve seen with monetisation but if you wanted that extra peel? That’s a different story, no dual unlock methods here. Many are only available with Gleamium, oftentimes costing more than than the actual grapheme unlock. Other outfits use gold coins and I’grand not forgetting the fifty-tier boxing pass with cosmetic unlocks, which has free and premium tiers. I’m not unreasonable, games demand revenue and nosotros’re getting access for complimentary. Simply when some skins – and I say some, non all – cost 2000 Gleamium alone, that feels excessive.

Fifty-fifty with this format, I remain surprised at how much I enjoyed MultiVersus. Taking on Blast was always a tall order and while it doesn’t hit those lofty heights, I can’t say I’ve always had online matches this shine in Boom Bros Ultimate. Role player Start Games has brought us a surprisingly polished platform fighter – and while private fighter balancing isn’t completely in that location all the same, there’southward every risk that’ll modify one time it leaves open beta. I never imagined a Warner Bros fighting crossover could ever work this well and now, I’m wondering who’ll be added side by side.

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