Platform fighters feel like they’ve become the easiest and most reliable way to throw a bunch of recognisable IP together to have a big scrap. MultiVersus is the latest to join a long line that includes Super Smash Bros., Brawlhalla, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale, and while it might not have the polish that the platform fighting king possess, MultiVersus is still a solid contender.
Again, platform fighters have become the accepted excuse to have an intellectual property rumble, and MultiVersus utilises everything Warner Bros. related. It’s hard to really understand the scope of Warner Bros.’ licences until you see Tom & Jerry having a fight with Batman, or Steven Universe getting his ass handed to him by a Dragon Ball-esque powered up version of Shaggy.
One aspect that MultiVersus has going for it is the amount of love that’s clearly been shown for the characters. All of Tom & Jerry’s attacks come from the collateral damage caused by both of them feuding with each other, while Shaggy is the perfect, meme-ified “two percent of his power” version of himself. Even Velma gets some special treatment, with the player’s screen going blurry when she crouches. You know, because she’s lost her glasses.
As for the core gameplay itself, MultiVersus is probably one of the fastest platform fighters out there. Characters zoom across the screen at an alarming pace, which can make controlling your character, particularly in the air, take a lot of getting used to. This is especially true as MultiVersus relies more on jumps and mid-airs for recovery than actual special moves, which is quite a departure from normal platform fighter conventions.
MultiVersus gives each of its characters plenty of tools with which to attack your opponents, though during the closed alpha, it felt like only special attacks were capable of actually finishing someone off. Regular attacks lack power unless they’re charged up, but doing so in the middle of a fight often leads to you getting blasted in the face, so it feels like the only way to win is to throw out special moves. Perhaps that’s just me being bad at the game, or it’s revealing I’m a Taz main who used tornados a lot.
MultiVersus’ main gimmick is the focus on 2v2 fights. Each character fits into one of several different classes, and their moves often have a benefit in terms of attacking the other team and buffing your teammate. There’s potential here for plenty of depth with different team match-ups and so on, though during this early phase of the game, it feels like most players are more concerned about their own attacks rather than how to help your team. Who cares about team synergy when you can just try and “unga bunga” your enemies off the map?
There’s potential for MultiVersus to be a great platform fighter alternative, with its decent mechanics and love shown for the source material. This is especially true considering that the game will be free-to-play on platforms other than the Switch, but it’s doubtful that MultiVersus will be replacing Smash Bros. in any one’s platform fighting game line-up.
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