Developer: Player First Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Platformer
Platform: Xbox (also available on PlayStation and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 26.07.2022
A code was provided for review purposes
When Worlds Collide
MultiVersus is a new platform fighter that focuses on two versus two team combat. Published by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, I was immediately excited to see what this publisher could do with its plethora of popular intellectual properties. Does this crossover stand out from the others? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Despite the host of different worlds that make an appearance in MultiVersus, there is no story or background behind how these characters appeared or why they are fighting one another. I did not enter the world looking for lore, so I was not disappointed by the lack of such options. Still, I do not recommend this game for people looking to learn more about their favourite Warner Brothers characters.
Instead of introducing any characters, the game immediately thrust me into the game itself. I started by learning the basics with an expansive tutorial. As someone who is familiar with platform fighters, I was comfortable and immediately at home but still appreciated the tutorial. While the more basic tutorial is typical across many platform fighters, I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of more advanced tutorials. Some of these seemed mandatory but others were things I would not have considered without their inclusion. I liked the brief initial tutorial while also appreciating the more detailed ones.
Focus on Online Play
Once I completed the tutorial, the game encouraged me to play online matches against others. Since the game is free, I did not need to worry about paying for any subscription services when playing online. This made the game so much more accessible, and I appreciated it a lot. Moreover, the low price point and prestige of Warner Brothers kept the matchmaking queues to a minimum. I never had to wait more than thirty seconds to find a match. This was especially impressive considering that I typically played matches with four people. The online matches themselves played out wonderfully. I never encountered lag or delays and my inputs came out just as soon as I inputted them. The MultiVersus servers were responsive and capable.
Unfortunately, I was unable to play online with someone locally. Considering the emphasis on team play, this was incredibly disappointing. To compound this even further, I could not add computer players when playing locally. These oversights are quite glaring, as it makes local competition significantly less enjoyable. To be entirely honest, the game does not seem tailored to offline play at all. I could not work towards my daily missions or level up my characters when playing offline. To unlock any features, costumes, or perks, I needed to play online matches. The limitations of the local options did leave me a bit disappointed, especially because I value playing with people locally.
Even though I wanted more options for local multiplayer, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the character roster. There are currently sixteen playable characters with others scheduled to come out. Though the available characters initially seemed small, especially compared to the massive rosters of Brawlhalla and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, I enjoyed how each of the characters felt unique and offered a new way to play the game. Even though the roster is not as massive, I hardly noticed because the dynamic characters made each fight feel distinct, especially when facing two teams against each other.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about stage selection. There were only a few stages, and none of them felt particularly unique in comparison to the others. Many took a lot of inspiration from stages I have seen in other games. While this makes them competitively viable and familiar, they make MultiVersus seem less original. I did like many of the stages themselves. The backgrounds are charming and feature plenty of references, but they did not leave an impact on me.
While many features are excellent and made me excited to jump into the title, MultiVersus is a free-to-play game, so many characteristically manipulative design techniques are implemented. There are daily missions that expire each day, costumes for each of the characters, and of course, a battle pass. These are to be expected with free-to-play games, but I did find them a bit disappointing. Even most of the characters require a lot of in-game currency to unlock. Without spending money or beginning the game, I had four characters I could play online. This meant that if I wanted to play as any of the others, I either had to collect a lot of coins or bust out my credit card. I would have liked to see less of an emphasis on unlocking the characters and more on developing strategies with them, but even as it is, the characters are accessible.
Though the characters are obtainable, there is one additional element that is locked behind this barrier of time or money. Each character can unlock traits. Some are unlocked by earning experience with a certain character while others require in-game currency. Players are at significant disadvantages without these abilities and statistic upgrades. While the effort required is not exceptionally high, it was disappointing to see the game grant upgrades to the base character instead of offering a tradeoff, keeping the game more accessible to new players. Though this did not have a huge impact on my experience, I would get frustrated when I needed to face off against players who were many levels above me, as they had more options to choose from and potentially better upgrades and enhancements to select.
Setting the Scene
To supplement the gameplay, there were exciting and lively soundtracks to match each of the stages. Though there were not as many tracks as I would like, the available ones were fun to battle with and I never felt disappointed by any of the arrangements. The sound effects were similarly exciting and each one sounded satisfying and tangible, keeping me motivated to push through the battle.
I also enjoyed the art style of MultiVersus. The characters are crisp and stand out from the more faded backgrounds. There are even clear indicators for many of the cooldowns and abilities, which makes facing off against new characters or even familiar ones very easy. The visuals all looked excellent and were helpful too.
MultiVersus also has two available packs online. They come with exclusive knockout effects, character unlock tokens, banners, and even more. Though there are a lot of things included, the true value here is in the Battle Pass tokens. If you foresee yourself playing the game enough to purchase the battle pass, I think these collections are more than substantial enough to be worth your money. If you do not foresee yourself maxing out each battle pass, I think these are not worth the money. Even if you are unsure, I would suggest trying the game when it launches for free and then deciding. (For clarity in the score, I will be reviewing the game as though it were free, and will not include the bonuses from this package in my consideration)
Overall, I think MultiVersus is a lot of fun as a party or competitive game. Despite the lacklustre local multiplayer, I have a lot of fun playing online and look forward to seeing where this game goes in the future once more characters and hopefully more stages are added. Considering the emphasis on online play, the game seems geared towards competitive players. Even still, the game is enjoyable when playing for fun. I think MultiVersus is a good game, especially considering that it is free.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase Multiversus on the Microsoft Store here
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