The upcoming free game Multiversus entered the closed alpha game recently. I also had the opportunity to look at the title at an early stage. My impressions are completely mixed. Some aspects inspire me, but others unfortunately make me doubt that here a typical first-person game will be released with the proliferation of microtransactions.
In the alpha for this brawl, whose gameplay is very similar to Super Smash Bros. From Nintendo, not all features were available. Also, five of the fifteen characters are locked by default. In order to play as Batman, Superman, Garnet, Arya Stark, and Steven Universe, you first have to earn enough in-game currency – or buy it later. Microtransactions is not enabled in Alpha.
For this, “Multiversus” is bursting with all kinds of opportunities to get in-game currency: add a friend online as a teammate and get 30% gold and experience points. Complete the starting missions and get 100 coins for each one. Level up the character and get 100 coins… See where the journey is headed. Character prices, 2,000 coins, for example, to unlock Batman as a character, are at least playable/possible.
You also get new costumes for the characters – so you have to fight your way through the so-called Battle Pass, which promises you emotes, avatars, coins or even rare goods like costumes. Before you can access it, you must have completed the starting tasks. So “Multiversus” charts your path very meticulously and wants to guide you through a range of missions – always with a carrot in front of your nose for fresh content.
Since activation is a game of patience, you can already see in the initial release that subsequent microtransactions should entice impatient people to put real money on the table in order to get perks to their favorite characters, new outfits and their partners earlier. Especially since there’s also more experience points when you’re “resting”, i.e. you haven’t played much non-stop during the day – XP Boosts I can hear you in a corner.
To be fair, I can’t rate this exact system yet, especially since prices can change prior to launch and so far only characters can be purchased with the game’s currency. You will notice Warner Bros. games. Definitely how the testers reacted in the next alpha and beta version. At the end of the day, Multiversus is a free game, and here you can see the usual crunch marks that will be part of the game.
Until now, there hasn’t been a story mode that fits all these cool characters from various franchises like Scooby-Doo, DC or Game of Thrones. However, you have the opportunity not only to gamble online against other players, but also offline in co-op or against bots. This is a fair move and therefore also allows quick rounds against each other without having to think too much about your own skills.
But how is the gameplay now? “Multiversus” is very reminiscent of “Super Smash Bros.”: in multi-storey 2D arenas, you can duel 1vs1 or in teams. Each character brings their own skills. Wonder Woman can protect other characters with her shield, Shaggy can use sandwiches for long range attacks, and Velma follows clues and can weaken or strengthen opponents. Either way, the goal is to bombard your opponents until they are out of the ring.
The risk of this happening increases with more hits: the counter is counted after each hit. The higher the number, the more successful attacks drop you. Each character masters light and heavy attacks as well as special skills, which also depend on the character classes. This makes it important to choose a good group in teams. For example, you can then protect your comrades with the right skills from blows while your friends go full blast in the attack.
Here “Multiversus” is really fun in alpha, because without tactics you can win a round with a pure button, but if the opponent has a lot of experience with his character, then your chances of success quickly diminish without a strategy. The gameplay would have worked well in a full-priced title and, according to my first impressions, also provides enough depth for long-term motivation.
So while it can be tempting to experiment with each character, level up, and unlock all kinds of things, you should find the one you really like, especially at the beginning, and try to master it. Otherwise, you will not have a chance in online matches. Diverse comic graphics are very successful. I also really like the fun soundtrack with the use of orchestral and hit vocals.
Unfortunately, you rarely hear the audio output in the alpha, so the characters aren’t exactly talkative. That’s a shame, as top-tier speakers like Kevin Conroy have been named as Batman. Conroy has voiced the character since the 1990s and in Batman: The Animated Series. But I can imagine the audio output will be expanded before launch, at least that’s what I’d like.
I’ll leave you with these impressions: In short: I’m skeptical about upcoming microtransactions, but the gameplay convinced me at first. And since you can also gamble offline against bots or friends, downloading “Multiversus” can be useful in its own right. If you’re interested, take a look for yourself – an open audition should follow in July 2022.
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