MultiVersus review: corporate-mandated fighting game fun

Batman and shaggy stand back-to-back as other characters battle in multiversus key art.

“MultiVersus looks like an enterprise product, but Player First Games makes the most of its ludicrous premise.”

Advantages

  • Stands out from Smash Bros.

  • Clever RPG influence

  • Varied Fighter Movesets

  • Nice visuals

  • Crossplay and restore netcode

The inconvenients

  • Boring user interface

  • Perks system

  • Boring microtransactions

MultiVersus is the new star of the fighting game scene since it launched in free open beta on July 26. to the deadly assassin Arya Stark at Space Jam: A New Legacy version of real-life basketball player LeBron James.

Yes, that’s a real phrase that applies to a new video game in 2022.

MultiVersus can look like a mandated enterprise product in many ways with its simple user interface, plethora of microtransactions, and large amount of IP included. Fortunately, the developers at Player First Games have always crafted a fighting game that’s co-op fun at its core, with an approach to the platforming genre that’s entirely unique. If you can get past the more clinical elements of MultiVersusyou’ll find one of the most enjoyable new fighting games for casual gamers since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

MultiVersus – Official Gameplay Trailer

Shattering Expectations

MultiVersus is clearly — very clearly inspired by the Super Smash Bros. series. It’s a cross-platform fighter where movement and platforming are just as important as fighting. That said, it stands on its own with unique mechanics and a different overall gameplay feel. Whereas many Smash clones try to directly copy the movement of Super Smash Bros. Melee, MultiVersus is more concerned with creating a diverse roster with mechanics not often seen in other fighting games.

MultiVersus‘ all have very different mechanics and are divided into different classes: Brawler, Mage, Assassin, Support and Tank. Brawlers can deal a lot of damage, Tanks can take a lot of hits, Mages use ranged tech attacks, Support characters focus on buffs and debuffs in co-op play, and Assassins are fast glass cannons which can deal a lot of damage but may not always take it. This unique RPG layer makes MultiVersus stand out in a way that has nothing to do with its list of famous people.

Tom and jerry, stephen universe, superman and shaggy fight in multiversus.

Yet each character’s moveset is full of references and mechanics that allow those characters to fit into a platform combat setup. Many of Tom & Jerry’s attacks come from the cat trying to catch the mouse. LeBron James is constantly throwing his ball and diving at his opponents. The Iron Giant is a towering figure who is harder to fend off than others in the MultiVersus line up. There are so many unique mechanics at play that the game needs a glossary of terminology. While it’s a little daunting, learning and discovering the ins and outs of each character on the roster over time is also fun.

There are still a few homages to the Super Smash Bros. series, and they pop up in some interesting places. I wouldn’t have guessed that Arya Stark would have Kirby’s copy ability or that Garnet would have a variant of Snake’s Rocket. Still, these references end with the basic premise and a few cheeky nods, which is why MultiVersus can retain its unique identity.

I can see that each character is pretty fun to use regardless of the mode.

MultiVersus is also notable for its emphasis on cooperative play. Player First Games emphasizes that 2v2 is the best way to play the game, and all characters feel like they were made for this mode. Some characters can buff their allies’ attacks or prevent them from being launched on the next hit, while others, like the all-new character Reindog, can attach themselves to their partner and bring them back to the stage if they get knocked out of the screen.

With several aerial dodges, jumps and special abilities, MultiVersus is intense in the air and on the ground. Some characters, especially in the support and mage classes, feel harder to use in 1v1 or freemode against a brawler who can quickly knock them out, but in the hands of the right player I can see that every character is quite fun to use regardless of the mode.

Wb characters fight in multiversus.

Because MultiVersus don’t try to live in Super Smash Bros. Melee Where Ultimate shadow, it comes across as a solid platform fighter without the need for comparison. This game is more than just combat, however, and that’s where some issues start to crop up.

The free-to-play factor

MultiVersus is a free fighting game on all platforms. Although you need a WB Games account, anyone can download it and play with the two free characters every two weeks until they earn enough in-game currency or spend enough money. real to acquire the other characters. Part of the platformer’s appeal is that it’s more digestible for casual gamers than a hardcore fighting game like Guilty Equipment Effortthis approach is therefore a wise decision for MultiVersus globally. It’s not flawless, however.

Multiversus' boring user interface.

Whereas MultiVersusCharacters and movesets are flashy and full of inspired ideas, the UI is much more standard and dull, with lists and images in squares and rectangles without too much flair. Other games like Destiny 2 and Super Smash Bros Ultimatego to great lengths to make the overall visual presentation memorable and eventually a space that feels inhabited. Currently, MultiVersus does none of that, because the menus need to be presented in an easily digestible way so people can access the Battle Pass and other purchase options that will make money for WB Games.

The default UI in matches is also quite cluttered, as player names, status effects, and damage meter all jumble under each character. MultiVersus may look distinct from a gameplay standpoint, but its overall packaging needs more work. Luckily, it’s possible to customize the UI to put most information at the top or bottom of the screen, so it’s less visually busy.

MultiVersus is packed with cosmetic and grind-minimizing microtransactions.

Due to its free-to-play setup, progression also plays a big part in MultiVersus. Players level up their accounts and characters individually, unlocking currencies, cosmetic options, and perks along the way. Players can also purchase a Battle Pass and progress by completing in-match challenges, such as Infinite Halo Where Pokemon Unite. If you want prettier banners and badges, new announcers, or alternate costumes, you’ll have to pay for the Battle Pass or individual items, which could quickly get expensive.

One place I’m grateful the microtransactions don’t reach is the perks system, where players can level up and gain perks that give them mild buffs, like extra jump or throwing enemies a bit further when equipped. Still, I’m not a fan of this system as it makes picking up a new, un-upgraded character a more difficult experience, as those little buffs can give you the edge in battle.

A list of shaggy's perks in multiversus.

WB Games provided Digital Trends with access to the MultiVersus Founder’s Pack – Premium Edition, so we can’t quite speak to the true free-to-play experience. That said, I guess you can earn enough currency to permanently buy a character (2,000) by the end of the first day or two of play, and that’s on top of getting Wonder Woman for completing the tutorial and free spinning characters. Like most popular free games, MultiVersus is packed with cosmetic and grind-minimizing microtransactions.

Luckily, the base game is fun enough that anyone can play a few matches with the available characters and enjoy it. If you plan on sticking around, you’ll probably want to deposit some money into the game, so it doesn’t become a frustrating experience.

Better than you think

MultiVersus may seem inspired and distinct from a gameplay perspective, but its packaging feels clinical. It’s a shame because MultiVersus‘ are easy on the eyes and can put characters like Bugs Bunny and Arya Stark in the same setting without looking too weird. The soundtrack is also full of great tracks, and I’d love to see more licensed music from the individual properties. It’s a game that shouldn’t work, but it does.

Harley hugging taz.

Although the overall aesthetic of the game isn’t very captivating aside from the included characters, I still enjoyed every game of MultiVersus that I’ve played, even when I’ve played co-op with random teammates and lost. With full cross-play and restore netcode, it’s a smooth and clean online experience that confidently charts its own space in the platforming combat genre as well.

Now where is Osmosis Jones? I hope he’s behind Ted Lasso.

Our opinion

MultiVersus is not next Super Smash Bros Ultimate; it’s a beast in itself. If Player First Games and WB Games can maintain this game’s community with frequent and compelling updates and make the user experience a little more engaging, MultiVersus should have a bright future ahead of him.

Is there a better alternative?

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is currently the king of platform fighters as the latest entry in the series that invented the subgenre. If you’re looking for more crossover-filled platform fighters, you can also check out Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and brawlhalla.

How long will it last?

As a free fighting game always receiving new modes and updates, it’s hard to give MultiVersus an estimate of play time. If you plan to unlock every character without spending a penny, you should be busy for dozens of hours.

Should I buy it?

Yes. MultiVersus is a free game, so I recommend fans of Super Smash Bros Ultimate or any of the featured characters, check out the game and play a few matches to see how they feel.

Digital trends reviewed MultiVersus on PS4.

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