“MultiVersus appears like a company product, but Player First Games gets essentially the most out of its ridiculous premise.”
- Stands out from Smash Bros.
- Smart RPG influence
- Varied fighter move sets
- Pretty visuals
- Cross-play and rollback netcode
- Boring UI
- Perk system
- Annoying microtransactions
MultiVersus is the brand new hotness within the fighting game scene since its free-to-play open beta launch on July 26. A large crossover game for Warner Bros. properties, the platform fighter includes a wide selection of WB characters, from the snarky rabbit Bugs Bunny to the deadly assassin Arya Stark to the Space Jam: A Latest Legacy version of real-life basketball player LeBron James.
Yes, that’s an actual sentence that applies to a recent video game in 2022.
MultiVersus can feel like a mandated corporate product in some ways with its plain UI, the plethora of microtransactions, and the vast amount of included IP. Thankfully, the developers at Player First Games still crafted a fighting game that’s cooperatively fun at its core, with a tackle the platform genre that’s wholly unique. For those who can get past the more clinical elements of MultiVersus, you’ll find probably the most enjoyable recent fighting games for casual players since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
MultiVersus is clearly — very clearly –inspired by the Super Smash Bros. series. It’s a crossover platform fighter where movement and platforming are only as necessary as fighting. That said, it stands by itself with some unique mechanics and a special overall game feel. While many Smash clones attempt to directly copy the movement of Super Smash Bros. Melee, MultiVersus is more concerned with creating a various roster with some mechanics not seen often in other fighting games.
MultiVersus’ characters all have wildly different mechanics and are split into different classes: Brawler, Mage, Assassin, Support, and Tank. Brawlers can deal loads of damage, Tanks can take loads of hits, Mages use technical ranged attacks, Support characters concentrate on buffs and debuff in co-op play, and Assassins are fast glass cannons that may deal loads of damage but can’t at all times take it. This unique RPG layer makes MultiVersus stand out in a way that has nothing to do with its roster of famous characters.
Still, each character’s move set is filled with references and mechanics that make those characters slot in a platform fighter setup. A lot of Tom & Jerry’s attacks come from the cat attempting to catch the mouse. LeBron James is consistently throwing his ball and dunking on his opponents. The Iron Giant is a towering character that’s tougher to knock back than others within the MultiVersus lineup. There are such a lot of unique mechanics at play that the sport needs a terminology glossary. While that’s a bit daunting, learning and discovering the ins and outs of every character on the roster over time can also be fun.
There are still some homages to the Super Smash Bros. series, they usually show up in interesting places. I might not have guessed that Arya Stark would have Kirby’s copying ability or that Garnet would have a variation of Snake’s rocket. Still, these references end at the fundamental premise and a few cheeky nods, which is why MultiVersus can maintain its unique identity.
I can see every character being quite fun to make use of irrespective of the mode.
MultiVersus also stands out due to its concentrate on cooperative play. Player First Games stress that 2v2 is the most effective solution to play the sport, and all of the characters feel like they’re built for that mode. Some characters can buff their allies’ attacks or prevent them from being launched on the following hit, while others, just like the brand recent character Reindog, can tether to their partner and drag them back to the stage in the event that they are knocked offscreen.
With multiple air dodges, jumps, and special abilities, MultiVersus is intense within the air and on the bottom. Some characters, specifically within the support and mage classes, feel harder to make use of in 1v1 or free-for-all settings against brawler that may quickly KO them, but within the hands of the proper player, I can see every character being quite fun to make use of irrespective of the mode.
Because MultiVersus isn’t attempting to live in Super Smash Bros. Melee or Ultimate’s shadow, it stands by itself as a solid platform fighter without the necessity for comparison. This game is greater than just its fighting, though, and that’s where some problems begin to arise.
The free-to-play factor
MultiVersus is a free-to-play fighting game across all platforms. While you wish a WB Games account, anyone can download it and play with the 2 bi-weekly free characters until they earn enough in-game currency or spend enough real money to amass the opposite characters. A part of the platform fighter’s appeal is that it’s more digestible for casual players than a hardcore fighting game like Guilty Gear Strive, so this approach is a sensible decision for MultiVersus overall. It isn’t a flawless one, though.
While MultiVersus’ characters and move sets are flashy and stuffed with inspired ideas, the UI is rather more standard and drab, with lists and pictures in squares and rectangles without much flair. Other games, like Destiny 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, go to great lengths to make the general visual presentation memorable and possibly an area that feels lived in. Currently, MultiVersus does none of that, because the menus should be presented in an easily digestible way so people can get to the Battle Pass and other purchasing options that may make WB Games money.
The default UI in matches can also be quite crowded, as player names, status effects, and damage counter jumble together underneath each character. MultiVersus may feel distinct from a gameplay standpoint, but its general packaging needs more work. Thankfully, it is feasible to customize the UI to place most of the knowledge on the highest or bottom of the screen, so it’s less visually busy.
MulitVersus is filled with cosmetic and grind-minimizing microtransactions.
Due to its free-to-play setup, progression also plays a giant part in MultiVersus. Players level up their accounts and characters individually, unlocking currencies, cosmetic options, and perks along the best way. Players may also purchase a Battle Pass and progress through it by completing in-match challenges, like Halo Infinite or Pokemon Unite. For those who want prettier banners and badges, recent announcers, or alternate costumes, you’ll should pay for the Battle Pass or individual items, which could quickly get pricey.
One place I’m thankful microtransactions don’t reach is the perk system, where players can level up and earn perks that give them slight buffs, like an additional jump or launching enemies a bit further when equipped. Still, I’m not a fan of that system since it makes selecting a recent, unperked character a tougher experience, as those small buffs can provide you with the sting in battle.
WB Games provided Digital Trends with access to the MultiVersus Founder’s Pack – Premium Edition, so we are able to’t quite speak to the true free-to-play experience. That said, I surmise that you may earn enough currency to permanently buy a personality (2,000) by the top of the primary day or two of playing, and that’s on top of getting Wonder Woman for completing the tutorial and the rotating free characters. Like hottest free-to-play games, MulitVersus is filled with cosmetic and grind-minimizing microtransactions.
Thankfully, the bottom game is fun enough that anyone can play a few matches with the available characters and revel in it. For those who plan on sticking around, you’ll probably need to drop some money on the sport, so it doesn’t turn out to be a frustrating experience.
Higher than you’d think
MultiVersus may feel inspired and distinct from a gameplay standpoint, but its packaging feels clinical. That’s a shame because MultiVersus’ visuals are nice to have a look at and may put characters like Bugs Bunny and Arya Stark in the identical setting without looking too weird. The soundtrack is filled with superb tracks too, and I’d wish to see more licensed music from the person properties. This can be a game that shouldn’t work, nevertheless it does.
While the sport’s general aesthetic isn’t very charming outside of the characters included, I still enjoyed every match of MultiVersus that I played, even once I played cooperatively with random teammates and lost. With full cross-play and rollback netcode, it’s a smooth online experience and its own that confidently charts its own space within the platform fighter genre, too.
Now, where’s Osmosis Jones? Hopefully, he’s behind Ted Lasso.
MultiVersus isn’t the following Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; it’s a beast of its own. If Player First Games and WB Games can maintain this game’s community with frequent, compelling updates and make the user experience slightly more engaging, MultiVersus must have a brilliant future ahead of it.
Is there a greater alternative?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is currently the king of the platform fighters as the newest entry within the series that invented the sub-genre. For those who’re on the lookout for more crossover-filled platform fighters, you too can try Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and Brawlhalla.
How long will it last?
As a free-to-play fighting game still receiving recent modes and updates, it’s hard to present MultiVersus a playtime estimate. For those who plan on unlocking each character without spending a cent, you ought to be occupied for dozens of hours.
Do you have to buy it?
Yes. MultiVersus is a free-to-play game, so I like to recommend that fans of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or any of the characters featured try the sport and play just a few matches to see how they feel.
Digital Trends reviewed MultiVersus on PS4.