As we further dive into e-sports, new, competitive and dynamic games pop out and the more the industry grows, the more the genre refines. Moba are a big deal on the e-sports scene, even more than shooters, with leading titles as Dota 2 and League of Legends, it would be foolish to try and burst into the market, especially for a small indie developer with just a few games on the back. That’s why Battlerite is so impressive.
Stunlock Studios is a company based in Sweden and it’s mostly known for Dead Island: Epidemic, a spin-off to the Dead Island series that focuses on strategy more than action. The title didn’t have much of an impact and was quickly forgotten but things turned out different for the new game of the Swedish developer.
Battlerite is a fast paced arena game and a spiritual successor to Bloodline Champions. It revolves around the idea of a large pool of heroes, each of them with unique abilities and quirks, fighting for a common objective, a concept already familiar in other games of the same genre but with a nice twist to it: instead of destroying the enemy base, the aim is to kill everything that moves. The game focusses more on map dominance and presence, where the more strategic competitors are built around the concepts of planning and decision-making. A match in Battlerite lasts between five and ten minutes, making it one of the fastest competitive games on the market. The map gets smaller minute by minute forcing players to direct confrontation and leaving no room for mistakes in dynamic three-versus-three or two-versus-two game modes. Every decision is important, every move must be well thought and quickly executed.
The game rewards creative thinkers, players who like experimenting with their champion and try new strategies and builds for their favourite characters and this keeps the title fresh. One thing that could seriously bother some people is the way it handles cosmetic items though: they are optional but they decided to include the infamous, predatory, casino-style lootboxes system.
Most e-sports have a huge issue with balance. Balancing a game with two-hundred characters, dozens of hidden mechanics and special interactions is no simple task, many games have fallen to their doom because of it and many are still struggling to give players a fair and balanced competition. Battlerite, at the moment, doesn’t seem to have this kind of problem. The game never feels unfair, even when you lose. The Champions selection is still quite small at the time of this review, however Stunlock is constantly updating the game, adding new features and fresh interesting characters and this hasn’t broken the game -yet.
Battlerite is a young, fair competitive experience, with a ton of potential, pretty to look at and cleverly designed. It sure has a small user base but it really deserves more following.
The game is free on Steam for everyone to play.