I often start reviews here on the site by talking about genres I like, and it almost seems like I like pretty much every genre. I say almost because there are a couple holdouts. Of these holdouts, the one I seem to have the least love for is the infamous MOBA. Despite the fact that MOBAs are most likely the world’s most popular gaming genre at the moment, I just can’t get into them. And it’s a shame, because MOBAs have a lot of exciting gameplay and split-second timing in them, so there’s real fun to be had. However, I still have to get through that punishing learning curve and understand the ins and outs. But what if someone managed to distill MOBA gameplay into a simpler action game? Well, then you’d have Battlerite.
It’s important to note that Battlerite *isn’t* actually a MOBA. It’s more of an action title with MOBA elements. Now the MOBA system has crept into other genres, and the idea of mapping attacks to hotkeys has even found its way into shooters. Battlerite is much closer to a MOBA in its overall structure though. The basic concept is that you and a buddy take on two opponents (or you can go 3v3) and you need to use your attacks and abilities to come out on top.
The first way Battlerite differs from MOBAs is in its scale. MOBAs are typically very large (hence the M for massive) and while Battlerite’s maps have tons of breathing room, they’re not so physically large that each few players can take one of the sections of the map. Second of all, there are no minions, it’s just you and your enemies. This means there’s no leveling, no farming, and no build-up; you meet and you brawl.
Besides that, Battlerite has a relatively forgiving roster of 15 characters that is nothing like the absolute sea of different oddities you have to wade through to become proficient in your average MOBA. Finally, the gameplay manages to be much more dynamic. While it’s a small roster, it’s still pretty creative aesthetically, and pretty varied in terms of movesets. Some characters have leap attacks that send them coursing through the air, and others have dash moves and ranged attacks that make the action that much more intense.
I will say that Battlerite has really shown me the appeal of MOBAs as a genre, and I definitely get the tension of trying to line up your attacks and use them in the most effective way. You also have a planning element, as you get various buffs. Matches are divided into round, and in each round you can choose the buff you want to go with. On the whole there’s actually quite a lot of depth to the playstyle of each character, so while the roster isn’t as unforgiving as that of League or Dota, it still warrants consideration.
It feels unfair to constantly compare Battlerite to a MOBA, as it very much does its own thing. They prefer the term ‘team-based arena brawler’ and I actually hope it takes off because this is a genre I can definitely get behind.
Syndrome was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Sunlock Studios and Coffee Stain. The game was tested a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Fun combat action
• Great variety of characters
• Innovative take on MOBA formula
• Friendly for beginners
• Not as appealing for fans of MOBAs
• Levels can be a bit more creative