Surprisingly, Multiversus is becoming a real Smash Bros. challenger

We had some time to fool around in the recently multiverse closed alpha test, the upcoming two-on-two platformer from Player First Games and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment. In it, players choose one of several iconic characters from the vast and colorful WB vault and team up for some good old-fashioned fisticuffs.

So what do we think of this game from our time with this super early version of the title? Well we like it. Actually quite a lot. For our detailed thoughts, we delve into every aspect of the game below, but you can also check out embedded footage of the game itself below:

Check out our own footage of Multiversus here!

Outstanding presentation

The first thing that struck us about even this early version of Multiversus is the quality of the presentation. The game itself is cleverly presented, but also not serious enough to contrast with some of the more goofy aspects of its cast. Each character is beautifully presented – making it difficult to dampen your excitement when you find yourself on the colorful character select screen.

Once you actually get into a match, that quality continues to be present in each character’s various attacks and animations. Shaggy and Velma from Scooby Doo each have several different moves that feed right into their character and fit perfectly into already existing depictions. Shaggy is a lanky, food-obsessed character who can gear up for devastating attacks (a nod to popular memes), while Velma is best at searching for clues that grant powerful buffs to her attacks. It’s the kind of characterization you and your buddies would think about at school that comes to life in this title. You’ve already nailed that aspect.

I had a nagging worry in the back of my mind that they wouldn’t make it to the end, that they would hold back some of the weirdness inherent in some of the traits present in the game, but luckily that’s not the case. It is an impressive memorial to the heroes and heroines it supports.

The main menu of Multiversus.

As soon as you start the game you can tell that the team has put a lot of love into Multiversus.

Addictive, fast-paced gameplay

There’s going to be a significant number of gamers out there who will look past all the visuals and great presentation and say, “Yeah, alright, but how does it actually feel to play?”. Those folks will be happy to hear that the game feels smooth; it’s loose. Like any good platformer, you’ll always feel like you’re in full control of your character, with attacks that feel meaty and powerful, charged special moves to eat your fill.

The characters are divided into different playstyles. You have a choice of basic and easy-to-use options, as well as characters specifically marked as difficult to use and more experimental. When you try these out, there are big differences between each character that are immediately noticeable. There are thugs, supporters, assassins, and mages. Yes, Tom and Jerry are mages, and while that sounds odd, their playstyle reflects that.

Jake the dog in house form in Multiversus.

A special thanks to Jake, who possesses moves that perfectly reflect his fluid and goofy nature.

I would have a hard time not yelling at Taz, who has his own spice meter that inflicts a special debuff on enemy players. This does nothing at first, but once you max it out, your opponent will turn into a beautifully fried chicken for a limited time. If you eat them in this state, you heal. On the surface, watching Taz literally chase a fried chicken across the screen is a particularly hilarious sight, but once you get down to business, you’ve got a distinctive character with a dedicated game plan. This sets them apart from the rest of the cast and borrows from the source material. Brilliant fun.

Let’s revisit the two-on-two format, something that clearly sets Multiversus apart from its competitors. It’s not a slapdash standard either, many like Wonderwoman and Reindog have special moves that interact with their teammates in positive ways, pulling them back onto the stage or granting buffs. It’s built into the basics, and while there’s a one-on-one and free-for-all mode, it’s not the game at its best. As admirable as it is to include for those who demand it (and for proud skirmishes between two salty players), the team aspect is an integral part.

An exciting 2v2 match in multiversus.

Different characters often complement each other, with one providing much-needed help while the other reinforces.

early worries

One thing that worries me at this early stage is the perks. These character modifiers offer custom buffs and even enhanced attacks that can be added to your character in the pre-game lobby. These are unlocked by leveling up your character – by powering up your favorite picks as you use them. That’s all fine, but offers significant benefits to players who have invested more time than others. While you can choose not to equip these, getting online with a new character feels a bit tricky when you bump into xX_BatmanL0ver_Xx, who hasn’t slept a wink since he got his hands on the caped crusader Has.

The perk menu in Multiversus.

Other titles like Injustice 2 have played with similar features to great success. I just hope they don’t discourage players from experimenting with the entire cast.

As it stands at the moment, the store isn’t unlocked in the multiversus alpha, which of course leaves a big cartoonish question in the air as to whether or not it will be reasonably priced. To give the game its due credit, the existing Battle Pass seems fair enough, with challenge-based progression and your typical split between a free and paid pass. It’s an unknown variable, though, and one that might turn some away if it turns out to be a bit sketchy.

There is also the ranking system, which is not yet in the game. As another huge unknown, it’s hard to have an opinion either way, but I’d like to see perks removed from this mode entirely, and some decent rewards for reaching high ranks. As a two-on-two game, there are hypothetical issues that could arise when it comes to fair skill-based matchmaking, as the game looks like some sort of title where a particularly good player carries a worse fighter to heaven could.

Although by the looks of it it’s a great early impression. Multiverse seems to have nailed the core gameplay and created an appealing title that portrays the cast with the utmost respect, even at this early stage. It’s one to definitely keep an eye on.

The victory screen in Multiversus.

Our first impression, Multiversus is a blast!

If you want to take a look at the gameplay for yourself, we’ve embedded some gameplay at the beginning of this article for you to check out. Multiverse doesn’t have a set release date, but you can sign up for the upcoming beta here. Surprisingly, Multiversus is becoming a real Smash Bros. challenger

Fry Electronics Team

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