Many games have tried to replicate the success of Super Smash Bros with varying results, but I think MultiVersus is the closest that a contender has come for the platform-fighting crown. Admittedly, I’d be lying if I said I thought it was going to knock Masahiro Sakurai’s much-loved series off its throne anytime soon, whilst I’ve also only played the Closed Alpha so far and have no idea if the final product will be of a high quality. With its robust roster of fan-favourite characters, clever and fun fighting mechanics, and intriguing potential for further expansion though, there’s PLENTY for players to be excited about.
I’ve stuck a good few hours in over the last few days and have been really impressed by what I’ve seen. Not only is MultiVersus addictive and fun to play, but it also brings with it a sense of progression that rewards players with extras to keep them coming back for more. Of course, a lot of that comes down to the game having a paid Battle Pass, but the fact that it’s a free-to-play experience does soften the blow.
Check out some screenshots down below:
When it comes to gameplay, MultiVersus pretty much replicates the tried-and-tested Super Smash Bros formula. Players will beat each other up with a variety of moves in order to build up their damage meter, leap around an arena full of platforms, and try to launch their opponents outside the level limits in order to defeat them and earn a point. It’s something players have been doing since 1999 and MultiVersus doesn’t try to change the formula up too much here. But hey, why fix what isn’t broken? We saw what happened when PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale introduced their own means of earning points and it wasn’t great – MultiVersus embraces familiarity and it makes it easier to jump right in and understand exactly what you need to do.
Of course, a game like this lives and dies by its roster, so it’s a good job that MultiVersus has a whole host of iconic characters spread across the Warner Bros portfolio. So far, the following have been revealed:
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Harley Quinn (from DC comics), Bugs Bunny and Taz (from Looney Tunes), Arya Stark (from Game of Thrones), Finn the Human and Jake the Dog (from Adventure Time), Shaggy and Velma (from Scooby Doo), Steven Universe and Garnet (from Steven Universe), Tom and Jerry, The Iron Giant, and Reindog (an original character designed specifically for the game).
As you can see, a LOT of Warner Bros properties have been represented in the initial line-up, with a good mixture of modern heroes as well as some old-school icons. What excites me the most is the potential of who else could appear in the game thanks to all of IP that the company represent. We could see characters from the likes of Harry Potter, Middle-Earth, Blade Runner, Gremlins, LEGO, The Matrix, Mad Max, Willy Wonka, or even the expanded DC universe sometime down the line, with SO much potential on offer when it comes to new additions. I’m barely scratching the surface with that list too, so who knows what fan favourites could show up in the game eventually…
“MultiVersus embraces familiarity and it makes it easier to jump right in and understand exactly what you need to do.”
That being said, the initial roster that I got to play as in the Closed Alpha was impressive in itself, with a lot of creativity offered in their design and variety in their playstyles.
One of my favourites was Wonder Woman, who was able to use her sword to pull off quick combos, her Lasso of Truth to pull characters to her, and her ‘Defence of the Gods’ special move to provide a shielded buff to defend her from incoming attacks. She felt like a good all-rounder really, with her fast movement and quick attacks making her a good starter character when you want to learn your way around the game.
Bugs Bunny on the other hand is ideal for ranged battling, with his move set useful for picking off foes from a distance. The game REALLY embraces the wackiness of the famed rabbit too, with one move allowing him to drop a safe onto a target, another seeing him blast his way towards enemies on an ACME rocket, and another having him burrow underground and attack foes from below. Admittedly, it took me a while to learn how to use his move set effectively, but once you get the timing down, you’ll find he can do some good damage whilst also keeping himself out of harm’s way.
Reindog is an interesting character given that he’s considered a Support role, meaning he’ll focus on helping out teammates with his abilities. This is demonstrated perfectly with his Love Leash, which allows him to put a beam of light between him and an ally which can be used to pull them to his position. Is your ally in danger of being overwhelmed? Pull them to you. They about to fall off the map and cost you a point? Pull them back. It’s a neat idea that adds a whole new dimension of team play to the experience.
Each character really does offer something different, whether that’s with their fighting style, their move set, or the role they play. Best of all, each character’s attacks embrace their personality perfectly, which means Taz WILL be spinning his way around levels like a destructive whirlwind and Tom and Jerry WILL be hurting their enemies when actually fighting amongst themselves. There wasn’t a single character that I didn’t enjoy using, and whilst I did have my favourites, their variety and consistency in quality ensured they all brought something unique to the fray. The only character that wasn’t available in the Closed Alpha was The Iron Giant, which is a shame – it would have been cool to see how different a bigger character might have felt to use. Given the standard that has already been set though, I do have high expectations.
“Best of all, each character’s attacks embrace their personality perfectly, which means Taz WILL be spinning his way around levels like a destructive whirlwind and Tom and Jerry WILL be hurting their enemies when actually fighting amongst themselves.”
It’s not just that the game feels great to play though, but also that there’s a lot of attention to detail in the little things. Whilst it’s great to see some voice actors returning to reprise their roles (such as Matthew Lillard for Shaggy, Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Maisie William as Arya Stark), they also share interactions between each other that are character specific. You can alter other little things too, such as the animation that plays when you hit another character out of the level – whether having the flag of your favourite Game of Thrones family display or the iconic ‘That’s All, Folks!’ icon from the Looney Tunes, you’re able to give it your own personal touch. It’s clear that the developers put a lot of care and effort into embracing the properties that they’re handling and ensuring that they use them in meaningful and fun ways to add to the game’s personality.
Add to that some cool levels and it’s clear that everything is going in the right direction. Again, I’m excited to see what levels will be available when the full game releases, especially with the source material on offer, but getting to play across the likes of the Batcave or the Treehouse from Adventure Time has been pretty sweet. Admittedly, I do hope that more complex levels with individual set pieces or more interactive features are introduced in the full release of MultiVersus, but I’ve still liked what I’ve seen so far.
Ultimately, I’ve been left very, VERY impressed by MultiVersus. The fighting is slick and fun, the characters are varied and full of personality, it looks great and there are some cool stages to fight across… it really does have a lot going for it. It takes the traditional Super Smash Bros formula and doesn’t try to reinvent it too much, but still manages to feel unique thanks to just how creative the characters are to use.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The best part of all? It’s free-to-play, so players can dive right in when it finally does release. Of course, this does mean there will be microtransactions and it was clear that a Battle Pass was present in the Closed Alpha, so players will have to invest some cash to see and unlock everything. Of course, you can earn currency in-game by playing and completing missions (something you need to do in order to unlock certain characters), but it’ll be interesting to see the cost of individual purchases and just how fast progress will be in the full game.
As it stands though, I just can’t wait to see more of what MultiVersus will offer. Whilst I wouldn’t call it a Super Smash Bros killer just yet, it has a high enough standard across the board to have the potential keep players hooked in for a long, long time – with the almost endless potential for future additions as well as the satisfying sense of progress with the unlocks, who knows what else we’ll see from the game in the future? With an Open Beta coming in July that brings with it permanent progression, it won’t be too long until players can dive in and find out.
Developer: Player First Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Previewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC