The platform fighting genre is a tough menagerie to enter. The king, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, plays smoothly and has a wide range of characters to choose from. However, MultiVersus is able to make its mark with its own exciting takes on Warner Bros. personalities throughout film and TV. It’s fast, bonkers, and genuinely entertaining to play. Here’s why, doc.
A Multiverse of Mania
MultiVersus combines the likes of Steven Universe, Game of Thrones, DC, Looney Tunes, and more Warner Bros. properties into one game. While these characters sound entirely different from each other, the developer, Player First Games, has been able to blend them all together in a natural and magical way. The art style is similar to a vibrant cartoon, and the looney animation attached to each move makes perfect sense within the world that MultiVersus creates. The characters even interact with each other, talking smack, or in Superman’s case, giving accolades to Harley Quinn.
Furthermore, MultiVersus is a wacky idea for a fighting game that nevertheless actually works on screen. It takes the concept of a platform fighter and brings some teamwork into play with its default 2v2 mode. You’ll want to figure out which moves work the best not just for you, but also how to save your teammate. One of the original characters from MultiVersus, Reindog, has a beam that is connected to their teammate, and in dire situations, they can be pulled back onto the stage and escape a ring out. Wonder Woman, meanwhile has a shield that can defend her ally from a terrifying attack. It would be cool to see more support abilities during battles, however. There are also 1v1 and free-for-all modes, which play great, but the main attraction is the team-based action.
When you’re battling it out in MultiVersus, the controls feel just like they should. Each attack feels impactful and weighty, dodges are as quick as you’d expect them to be, and special moves react to your inputs well. It feels like a fluid fighting game, unlike some of its competition in the platform fighter space. So far, the characters all feel balanced as well, except for Superman who has a powerful punch and annoying grab attack that flings you into the air.
Magnificent arenas except…
Another part of what makes a platform fighter great is its stages. For the most part, MultiVersus nails it. Scooby Doo‘s stage looks ripped from an episode of the original series as it takes place in a haunted mansion. 2D animated monsters are walking around in the background, while head statues look left to right as they watch the fight. You can also interact with a few gears on either side of the stage to open up gaps in the floor. The Batcave is also a delight as it has swarms of bats flying on the left of the screen, while multiple batmobiles appear as obstacles on each side of the fight. The problem, however, is that there are practice stages that are being used in the rotation. They’re dull to look at and basic, making the concept of MultiVersus slightly weaker. Hopefully, the practice stages get removed from matchmaking in the full release.
An almost perfect online experience but disappointing music
Whenever you play a match online, it will nine out of ten times feel like the players are in the same room as you. With its rollback netcode functionality, almost every match feels smooth and it’s currently just the Closed Alpha. When it did lag, however, it was a problem. I once found myself on the outside of the stage when I didn’t expect it, and some players seemed to have the first hit on occasion when they shouldn’t have.
Most of the music in MultiVersus is disappointing to listen to. The main menu has this calm theme song with strings and a slow tempo. There’s a sense of serenity to it. This would be perfect in a family film, but not in a fighting game. You want to be pumped up. Thankfully, we’ve noticed in the Global Cosmetics section of MultiVersus that there are different main menu themes, like Fortnite.
When you’re battling it out, however, it doesn’t get much better. The majority of tracks in stages sound generic and don’t successfully bring up the tone of the original source material. The one great exception would be the Batcave, which has the incredible 1989 Batman score from Danny Elfman mixed with MultiVersus’ main theme. It works so well and helps keep the battle electrifying.
Lastly, one major part of MultiVersus that will keep you playing is the rewards that will be handed to you if you get the Battle Pass, which was fully unlocked in the Closed Alpha. You can unlock cool referential skins like Batman’s Samurai outfit, taunts, banners, ring out FX, and banners. MultiVersus shows so much creativity behind its battle pass inclusions; they’ll likely bring back players season after season.
Overall, MultiVersus is a grand time and is a game with so much potential. It’s a dream for those who love Warner Bros’ movies and properties, and more characters are on the way. Recently, the Iron Giant was revealed to some controversy, but there’s a huge library that Player First Games can play around with, including the Harry Potter movies, the Mortal Kombat series, The Lord of the Rings films, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many more. Even if you don’t care about the roster, MultiVersus provides in-depth controls and gameplay that almost matches the likes of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and it’s free.