‘MultiVersus’ is the First Worthy Challenger to the ‘Super Smash Bros.’ Throne

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

It’s no secret that Nintendo has a family-friendly grip on certain corners of the gaming industry. That stronghold is certainly on platform fighters. Ever heard of a little game called Super Smash Bros.? the original Smash Bros. debuted in 1999, revolutionizing the genre. Since then, many studios have tried to invent a worthy competitor to Mario’s MMA pursuits. Many—and I mean many—have failed. Hell, platform fighters that aren’t Smash Bros. are often labeled as smash-like.

Now, there’s a new challenger in the arena: MultiVersus, which sees characters from the massive Warner Bros. library duke it out. (Think: Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Bugs Bunny, and LeBron James. No Jay Gatsby, though.) The title has now commenced its open beta phase, which means that the game isn’t quite finished, but everyone is free to download, play, and test it out. I’d recommend that you do exactly that, because MultiVersus just might come the closest we’ve ever seen to the heights of Smash Bros.—because it isn’t trying to be Smash Bros. How’d did the crew over at Warner Bros. Games pull it off?

well, MultiVersus has a massive IP base of recognizable characters, to work from, arguably more so than the House That Mario Built. leg ace Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl showed us, a recognizable cast is far from a sure shot when it comes to making a crossover hit. You need stellar gameplay, which MultiVersus absolutely pulls off. MultiVersus mastered something that’s been on my wishlist since had PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale debuted in 2012: quality team gameplay. The standard mode for the game sees two players working together, which is deeply cool. Wonder Woman can lasso someone backward on stage, Jake the Dog can eat someone and heal them. If these abilities seem too drastically different to co-exist, well, wait until you play.

This brings me to another one of the brawler’s triumphs: character variety. When Warner Bros. announced character classes, I thought we’d see a copy-pasted move set, with little more then goofy animations over each dive and dodge. in short? A free-to-play cash grab. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The classes are helpful, but by no means define the characters. Take Finn and Arya Stark, for example. They’re both assassins and have similar mechanics, but each one couldn’t feel more different when you’re actually playing as them. It’s exactly how things should be.

I should also remind you—multiversus is free to play. Sure, it means that you have to unlock characters with coins, but those are easy to earn just by playing the game. You can also work to earn cosmetics, which easily account for some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen. Each character also has its own independent progression tree, too, which isn’t blocked by any paywalls. All to say: MultiVersus is a pay-to-look-cool, not a pay-to-win game, which is incredibly refreshing. Recently, Warner Bros. announced that Rick and Morty join the already remarkable cast of characters, which also includes Batman, Steven Universe, and the Iron Giant, with even more friends and foes to come. It feels safe to say that MultiVersus will deliver the goods for the foreseeable future.

MultiVersus is now available to download on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as PC.

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