At the time of this review being written, MultiVersus is still in Beta Early Access, and opinions may not represent the final released product.
By now, I’ve played a lot of fighting games. Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Street Fighter, Brawlhalla, Rivals of Aether, Smash, etc. It’s fair to say I’m not exactly proficient at any of them either but that’s okay because fighting games can both be a competitive experience or a casual laid-back way to play, and MultiVersus does that pretty well.
In the last few years the market for crossover-fighting games has become bigger, with Nickelodeon having their go at things while Brawlhalla slightly updates their game with crossover content and Super Smash Bros remains the dominant name in the genre. MultiVersus by comparison is pretty new on the block but shows some promise in its gameplay but in other areas it could definitely have some improvement.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest advertising points of MultiVersus would be it’s roster. In the version of the game that I played, the available characters are from a variety of different franchises. Scooby-Doo, Batman, The Iron Giant, Harley Quinn, Bugs Bunny, Steven Universe; and there’s supposedly even more to be added into the mix at a later date. Of course it’s not Smash Bros, but the inclusions in the game are very strong with a mix of vastly different playstyles (though classed under three or more different branches, from what I can tell) to change things up.
One of the things that I like the most about MultiVersus are the additions of perks that you obtain by levelling up and playing the game as certain characters. These perks can be shared with teammates while some are character exclusive and cannot be shared. They can be a lot of fun too, with mechanics such as triple jump or doing more damage when you’re at a high percentage. It’s a really interesting idea that I think works pretty well to make the game different every time you play.
For a game featured around mostly cartoon characters, MultiVersus has done a great job of creating their own identity and look whilst still retaining the feel of the characters that are featured, all of which are made in a multitude of different styles and aspects to stand out from each other, and none of them look out of place in the way that they’re designed in this game despite their initial backgrounds and look being vastly different.
Looking at the arenas from the the map pool that I’ve played, the worst one is Scooby’s Haunted Mansion, a closed-quarters spooky haunted house that I’ve been referring to as “Luigi’s Mansion”. It’s so small and has a very restricted roof, so much so that when I realised I was playing it, I let out a groan every time. All of the other maps are great fun to play, it just seems to be that this map isn’t fit for purpose.
In the gameplay itself, there’s quite a lot going on – a lot of effects and colours flashing at the same time which makes it hard to keep track of what’s going on a lot of times. It’s not “too much” that it’s unplayable, but I think maybe it would be beneficial to try and make it less chaotic than it is right now, as I haven’t had this problem with any other games such as Smash Bros or Brawlhalla. This is mostly the case with 2v2 games (and more), which is what I played the most of; even with the colourful background and design it still seems to be a lot of colour and stuff going on at the same time, making losing track easier.
One of the most disappointing parts of the game is the microtransactions. I can honestly say that the cosmetic skins that are available are awesome looking, but putting them behind microtransactions is bad. Sure, they’re only cosmetic and don’t impact the actual game, but when it’s a fixed amount to buy the skins, and you have to buy just over that to be able to afford it, it’s a disappointment.
I truly believe that we’ve gone past the need for microtransactions in games, and seeing more recent games still latch onto a model that many gamers dislike is upsetting, but I can understand the need to somehow monetise a game that is free-to-play. My issue with the microtransactions wouldn’t be as bad if it didn’t feel like the way to buy them was out of the mobile gaming playbook. You can’t buy a skin just for the amount of premium currency that it’s worth, you’re forced to buy a bundle that is more currency than you want for the skin, and I don’t think that makes it any better. At least the Battle Passes are free.
MultiVersus is an interesting crossover game that has a lot of promise in terms of the characters it can offer to what feels like an already stacked roster of iconic names. It’s gameplay is fun, chaotic and sometimes hard to keep track of, but it’s not a bad game by any means, and really if you can look past the microtransactions, it’s a great gameplay experience even in its early stages of development.