aRPG,  Early Access,  Rapid Preview,  Reviews,  Steam

Killsquad – Early Access Impressions

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Killsquad is an action-RPG with MOBA inspired combat and progression that is currently in Steam Early Access. Killsquad comes to us from Novorama, developers of the popular Invizimals series of games. While a vastly different title from Invizimals, it’s clear that this team’s unique vision brought them to this quite interesting mashup of genres. But how does it fit together so far? Join us in this Rapid Review Preview to find out!

As noted, Killsquad looks on its surface like one of the dozens of action-RPGs flooding Steam’s Early Access at any given time. Focusing on direct control of your character, you use WASD (or a controller’s left stick) to control movement and a mouse (or a right stick) to control aiming. Abilities are triggered with clicks and button presses, much like a MOBA. Four-player co-op is available, and there are currently four characters, with more promised as the game proceeds in development.

The most significant departure from the aRPG formula is the way your progression works. Instead of just steadily gaining strength over time (you do this with equipment, which raises an overall power level), you also start at level one in each mission. Over the course of the mission, you gain power, unlocking perks and your “ultimate” as you play through the mission. This will sound familiar to MOBA players, as it’s the way games like Dota 2 and League of Legends work. It’s a refreshing change to the typical act based structure of most aRPGs.

The game also looks gorgeous, with interesting character designs and flashy particle effects. While it mostly ran well for me, there were times when there was a little too much going on on-screen for my graphics card (and eyes) to handle.

So where does Killsquad need to see improvement? The biggest thing, as usual for Early Access titles, is content. Missions are procedurally generated, meaning that no two missions are alike. That said, more tilesets, enemies, and objectives are needed to keep the game feeling fresh. This is true on the character side as well, with most weapons and equipment feeling a bit samey. Adding a wider range of weapon options per character would be welcome, providing more variety in gameplay.

The game also needs more customisation options. Giving you the ability to equip different perks and talents would go a long way in this department. Currently, all of your perk options are the same each mission. While you can choose between different ones upon levelling up, adding more to equip as choices would be nice.

Ultimately, Killsquad does lose some steam after you’ve played for 5-10 hours, without much to do other than increase your power level. This would be fine if there were more variety, but this should get better over time. That said, the mechanics are unique, fun, and interesting. I can recommend this game to anyone intrigued by the concept who wants to watch it grow.

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