Read Our MultiVersus Closed Alpha Review.
Smash Bros. Ultimate leads the charge on platform fighters, and it isn’t even close. While many have attempted to take the crown from the Smash series, it still leads the charge on how to make a successful platform fighter. However, a new game has entered the brawl, and while it may not take Smash’s spot on the throne, it’ll be its biggest competitor if the Closed Alpha is anything to go by.
MultiVersus could be described as the Warner Bros. equivalent to Smash Bros., and in all honesty, it is. The game hits all the same notes, bringing in different fighters from numerous properties. They fight on a set of platforms, with similar attacks and movesets that would fit right into Nintendo’s exclusive. But, MultiVersus is more than a clone of a successful game, changing more than enough to make it stand out in the market.
The colliding of these different worlds and styles shouldn’t work well, but in a world where Fortnite can seamlessly bring major brands into a universe that has a very distinctive visual style, it works super well.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. MultiVersus is a platform fighter, developed by Player First Games as their debut title. Thanks to Warner Bros.’s extensive list of properties to gather from, MultiVersus features characters such as Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, Tom & Jerry, Batman, Shaggy, and even Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. And while the current roster may seem smaller than other platform fighters, we know that there are likely more to come.
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The colliding of these different worlds and styles shouldn’t work well, but in a world where Fortnite can seamlessly bring major brands into a universe that has a very distinctive visual style, it works super well. All of the current characters feel like they were built first in MultiVersus before expanding into their existing properties, as opposed to the other way around. Even characters like Arya Stark have been recreated faithfully in a more cartoon-based setting, without losing anything that makes them unique. It’s even better when you realize that Tom & Jerry aren’t actually fighting other characters, but each other, and any damage that is done to opponents is simply accidental most of the time.
MultiVersus changes from a simple clone of other platform fighters by focusing on 2v2-based matches. Characters have set classes, with standard and special moves that help them based on their roles. Heroes like Wonder Woman pull you back onto a platform and shield you, should you get hit off. While characters in the Bruiser class can take plenty of punches and dish them out at the same time.
MultiVersus’ lack of a single-player story means that you’ll be going head-to-head with other players, and playing against other characters is always fun and interesting.
When I first heard that MultiVersus would focus on this team-based gameplay, I won’t lie and say I was not panicking. Anything that relies on complete strangers to actually reach victory makes me worried. But MultiVersus balances this out fairly well. Even if you don’t work as a team, you may still win by means of playing it like Smash. Using your combos, you’ll find yourself almost as good as if you had a decent team composition. But if you find a random player, or a friend, who you can actively play off of, then the game gets even more fun.
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Synergizing well with someone else is only half of the fun though. MultiVersus’ lack of a single-player story means that you’ll be going head-to-head with other players, and playing against other characters is always fun and interesting. This is, in part, thanks to a smooth, and responsive core gameplay. In intense moments, you can usually rely on the fact that your character will do exactly what you want them to do when you press those buttons, with little-to-no input delays. And you really need this with a platform fighter, as even the slightest delay can throw your game completely off track.
While MultiVersus may take many elements from its inspiration of Smash, it feels different enough to offer something fresh. The aforementioned team-focused gameplay is simply a gateway into how each and every match plays out. Different characters offer different team compositions, and you’re unlikely to go up against many of the same characters back-to-back. This is thanks to a mostly balanced meta. Many characters have their specific playstyles and purposes, which means players can find something that can be suited to them. I’m personally a Jake the Dog player, as I like his close-range hits, however, the stretchiness means I’m not as open as any other Bruisers or Tanks.
MultiVersus has that “one more match” gameplay that I love and crave because it’s simply a lot of fun.
There’s also the addition of a perk style system within MultiVersus, which allows players who level up certain characters can get buffs, but thankfully, most of them are rather small and won’t give you a great advantage over other players. Some perks offer major changes to how a character’s moves may work, but they won’t make it difficult for other players, especially players who work well as a team.
The distinctive visual style, solid gameplay, and importance of playing certain classes meant I was hooked into MultiVersus after only a single match. I eagerly messaged the rest of the team on Slack, showing my praise for the game, and even after plenty of hours I still haven’t burned out. MultiVersus has that “one more match” gameplay that I love and crave because it’s simply a lot of fun. There are certain mechanisms in place that can make it more competitive, which I’m sure is planned for the future, but it has that element that allows it to be both casual and competitive in nature.
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MultiVersus also offers both great visuals and sound design too. It brings in many voice actors who played the original characters to offer unique and new dialogue, making the whole experience feel more exciting. It truly wraps the game up in a little bow and keeps the strange and likely impossible joining of all of these worlds feel natural. Each and every character, visually and audibly, act like their usual selves. This is the perfect representation of what kids imagine their favorite characters would fight against each other. And in all honesty, I’m 100% in.
MultiVersus looks to be up for a fighting chance against many great free-to-play titles, and the chance to ringout any opponents in the same space.
MultiVersus is also set to be free-to-play at launch, meaning that plenty of players can experience this Smash competitor without paying a penny. And while we’re unsure right now how much monetization will occur in-game, a Battle Pass exists in the Closed Alpha so it’s fair to assume that this will be the main method of micro-transaction. Thankfully, the Battle Pass is not only fair with its leveling up, but it’s also filled with incredible cosmetics that don’t affect gameplay. While the question of MultiVersus’ money-making may be up in the air until its full launch, from what I’ve seen, it’s completely fair and appropriate. And dare I say, it may be worth your money.
It seems that, at least in the Closed Alpha, MultiVersus is stacking up to be an incredible game that brings in the best characters of many exciting worlds. Its platform-fighter gameplay is perfect for casual and competitive audiences, with the 2v2-focused nature bringing higher stakes than any game like it. We may need to see how far it goes with its microtransactions, but so far, MultiVersus looks to be up for a fighting chance against many great free-to-play titles, and the chance to ringout any opponents in the same space.