MultiVersus Review: A Super Smash Hit
MultiVersus frames itself as the ultimate crossover fighter, a sort of "dream come true" scenario where anyone can face off against anyone else. It's a bold proclamation challenging the reign of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a game that features an unmatched all-star cast of video game characters duking it out. Many pretenders to that throne have come and gone but, surprisingly, MultiVersus makes a compelling claim. The game, which is in open public beta, has strong fundamentals, charm, and attention to detail that Smash clones that came before sorely lacked, making it one of the best platform fighting games ever made.
MultiVersus follows the basic Smash Bros format: up to four players meet on a single battlefield and fight it out, with the goal of increasing damage enough to knock their opponents out of bounds. The first team to score four knockouts in a match--or the first fighter to score two knockouts in a 1v1 match--wins. So far, so Smash. However, MultiVersus puts far more emphasis on the 2v2 format, quickly establishing its own identity in the process.
Mechanically, every fighter on the roster has moves that negatively affect opponents, while simultaneously having positive effects on teammates. For example, whenever Shaggy charges to full power--a brilliant use of the Ultra Instinct Shaggy meme--his partner also receives a power bump for their next attack. One of Wonder Woman's special attacks gives her a layer of special armor for added defense, and if she's close enough to her partner, she'll immediately jump to them and give them the buff too. This idea of teamwork and synergy being baked into the fundamentals of MultiVersus is a fresh and welcome change to the format, with no two matches ever feeling the same. The partner dynamic also strengthens the 2v2 mode, making it feel like the core format developers intend people to play.
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