“If Lovin’ You is Battlewrong…”
When juxtaposed against all of the titles Battlerite can be most easily compared to, it seems like a game that would evaporate into obscurity. Yet when I started the game up, fully expecting an arena fighting riff on the typical MOBA formula to not hold my attention; I was pleasantly surprised with how well-balanced and straight up fun the whole experience turned out to be.
Typically when I play a game like League of Legends it feels as if I’m waiting for AI controlled creeps to catch up and am tethered by both the pace they run and defending their fragile health bars. It reeks of escort mission banalities that I despise in other games.
Battlerite from Stunlock Studios shuns the towers and AI-controlled creeps of similar games and instead focuses on 2v2 and 3v3 Arena battles that play similar to a MOBA but incorporates elements such as skillshot abilities and no respawns during rounds. Think Wildstar meets Arena of Heroes or Hunger Dungeon.
You are asked to pick a loadout before readying up, this involves picking one passive ability for your hero that will persist throughout the match. These passives are tied to a specific ability; granting effects such as longer debuff duration, healing on hit, and many others. There is a 2-minute time limit to each round, first to win 3 rounds wins the match. The match structure alone facilitates much faster gameplay and dynamic strategies compared to Battlerite’s peers. Most MOBAs have universally accepted strategies for who is perfect for what lane and what the perfect composition of support, ranged, and melee. Battlerite trims the fat of these games and focuses solely on team-fighting.
Thankfully, Battlerite’s smaller maps and hero count allow a player to become pretty familiar with most heroes’ capabilities after a few matches. Plus there aren’t lanes and tower locations to memorize! Maps are instead dotted with health and energy pickups. Energy confers the use of some more powerful abilities such as genre staple Ultimate moves. There are also EX movies that use this meter, requiring a bit of resource management and deciding when it might be best to go for higher-risk moves.
“…I don’t wanna be Battlerite.”
The game really shines in the most heated moments when you try to outwit your opponents with quick reflexive mouse clicks and guessing their next moves. Baiting a ranged opponent into using a spell with long casting time while you close the gap with a melee type or using your hero’s mobility skill to dodge an ultimate attack are immensely satisfying. Deaths never feel unearned and you’ll always think to yourself about what you could’ve done to avoid your opponent’s onslaught, no cheap kills from creeps! It’s this feeling primarily that I think will keep players on the hook, being a purely skill-based game makes it a standout in the crowded Free to Play battle arena genre.
Currently, there are 21 heroes available for purchase with a weekly rotation of 6 champions available for free. It costs $30 to buy all champions or $5 to buy a single one. Frustratingly, the premium currency cannot be bought in $5 denominations so you’ll have to buy a $7.50 currency pack if you want to take the piecemeal route. You can buy them from in-game currency accrued during matches, but it will take a LONG time if you want to take that route. This gets doubly frustrating since familiarizing yourself with each hero’s abilities also allows you to counter them better, but the price isn’t too steep and I would highly recommend buying this pack if you also want all the future characters Stunlock trots out next.
Battlerite is easily recommended to anyone who enjoys MOBAs but even more easily recommended to folks who dislike the AI and objective-based trappings of these kinds of games. Working out strategies with friends and executing a perfect gameplan or analyzing what you did wrong and making adjustments is more compelling than any other game I’ve played in this genre. If Stunlock can maintain this momentum and really throw some weight into marketing the game well, we may have sleeper hit on our hands.
Take a Look at the Battlerite Launch Trailer:
Battlerite is free-to-play for PC on Steam.