Pokémon Unite – The Super Effective New MOBA

This week the Pokémon Company announced their first venture into the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) with Pokémon Unite. While the likes of Pokémon Go has gone some way to connecting fans online, we have yet to see a multiplayer Pokémon game of this scale.

The somewhat inevitable move has been heralded by fans for years given that the mechanics of the game lend themselves so readily to the MOBA format. Revealed through a live ‘Pokémon Presents’ broadcast on Wednesday by The Pokémon Company CEO and president Tsunekazu Ishihara the announcement comprised the big reveal plus some gameplay. 

The free-to-start title promises to conform to the well-established MOBA mechanics that we are familiar with, having already been compared to MOBA titan League of Legends. Five-a-side teams will compete on a large map with bases on either side to earn the most points, through catching, battling and evolving Pokémon. Players can pick from a roster of popular pokémon including Gengar, Charizard, Lucario and, of course, Pikachu and level up by catching Pokémon and defeating enemies to evolve and learn new moves.

Pokémon fans should feel right at home with the training mechanics and shouldn’t struggle to recognise the moves and Pokémon on the field – however be aware that the type advantages that are integral to battle strategies in the core series are notably absent within Pokémon Unite. 

The announcement was met with some controversy – with a week of teasing gearing up many fans’ expectations for another core series remake or Let’s Go title – however, the prospect of a new MOBA fused with Pokémon has obviously gotten us extremely excited to say the least. The title will be available to play on Switch and mobile devices – though we’ve yet to hear of a release date, so watch this space!

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Mutants Vs. Pirates. Enough Said?

Developers NewGen Studios have just announced the release date for their third-person MOBA-inspired Clash: Mutants Vs. Pirates. And frankly, just the title alone is enough to get our blood pumping. As the title implies, the free-to-play MMO pits magic-wielding mutants against gun-toting pirates, merging sci-fi and fantasy in a glorious explosion of MMO fanservice. The aesthetic kind of reminds us of the Mutant Year Zero characters.

Mutants Vs. Pirates offers the choice between 8 heroes – featuring your typical tanks, damage dealers and healers – and two game modes: deathmatch or the strategic Kinvader mode. Deathmatch is a race to 40 kills between two teams, which can comprise you and your friends or you and some soon-to-be friends. Kinvader encourages a more strategic approach, choosing when to attack and defend whilst timing the capture of control points in order to relocate the opposition’s Kinvader. 

If the promise of a good old-fashioned MOBA-style rumble featuring magic mutants and gunslinging pirates has tickled your fancy, then you may want to jump on one of three pre-order bundles. These packs will include a founder’s badge, load screens, exclusive avatars, emotes, titles and sprays (plus some orbs, the game’s currency). 

Here are the need-to-know details from this exciting new title: 

  • 8 champions with unique abilities
  • Mighty special attacks to turn the tides of battle 
  • Summonable minions to fight for your team and implement your strategies
  • Champion level-ups and unlockable rewards
  • Tower defenses and powerful machine guns to thwart the enemy onslaught
  • 2 game modes, Kinvader & Team Deathmatch

This title will be available from 12th June so slot the title into your wishlist via Steam or pre-order your choice of pack here.

 

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Amazon’s Innovative Team-Based Shooter Crucible Has Landed!

A little while ago we covered the upcoming Amazon Games’ team-based shooter Crucibleand we’re now excited to announce that the game has officially launched. Within the game players work with teammates to hunt their opponents and take down hostile creatures on a lush rogue planet in pursuit of Essence, a valuable resource that amplifies hunters’ powers. 

This MOBA-tinted title allows you to choose between 10 distinct hunters including Earl, an inter-stellar trucker, Summer, a dual-flame-thrower-wielding former welder, and Bugg, a robot botanist.

Having given this game a go we can attest to its quality but don’t just take our word for it – here’s a few reviews to convince you to pick this game up, if you haven’t already:

“I knew Crucible was something special the very first time I played it, and it somehow keeps getting even better,” said Twitch creator Sasslyn. “The hunters are unique, but welcomingly familiar. Whether you want to stick to one or be a jack-of-all-trades, there is a hunter that will fit your preferred style of play. Throughout Crucible’s development, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing first-hand how much the team cares about their players, and the way they take feedback and use it to make Crucible into an even more innovative and unique game.”

“One thing that separates Crucible is the diversity in its characters,” said Twitch creator Bartonologist. “There’s something there for everyone. Each character approaches the game differently and matches up against the other hunters in a unique way. Brings a whole new level of strategy and competition to this world.”

“The three game modes in Crucible represent three completely different kinds of teamwork required to come out on top,” said Twitch creator Stevo. “There’s unlimited ways you can strategize and compose your team to win, but of course, you never know what your opposition will do either!”

Get involved before 2nd June and you’ll bag yourself an early adopter gift of 1,000 Credits deposited into your in-game account. Credits can be redeemed for cosmetic in-game items like skins and emotes, as well as a Pre-Season Battle Pass, available for 950 Credits. The Pre-Season Battle Pass offers players a series of challenges and rewards, including hunter and account customization options.

Check out more info on the game via their website.

 

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Team-Based Shooter Crucible Launches on 20th May

Crucible is one of the results of digital retail giant Amazon’s foray into gaming and, more specifically, the MOBA genre. The team-based shooter has been in development for a while now but we have finally received a launch date: 20th May. 

The free-to-play title is an intriguing addition to this popular MMO format with some unique mechanics to set it apart from popular paragons such as SMITE & League of Legends. Crucible is a MOBA with a twist; the opportunity to betray your allies. 

Anyone who has played an online shooter has encountered the annoying players who think it’s funny to shoot their teammates. Crucible is making that an integral part of their game. Within three modes – each one PvP or objective-based – you will be able to turn on your fellow players and join the opposition, which promises compelling gameplay and spectating. 

Fans of titles such as Overwatch should be thrilled by the game’s roster of distinctive ‘Essence Hunters’, each with their own skills, characteristics and contributions that will deliver a unique experience with each match – doing away with the traditional choice between a tank, healer or support. 

Ahead of the release is the trailer which you can take a look at below:

Crucible has been developed by Relentless Studios, a Seattle-based development team of Amazon Games headed up by the co-founder of Command & Conquer’s Westwood Studios, Louis Castle. Crucible will be the first of two major titles from Amazon Games in 2020, followed by the launch of New World in August. With the budget of Amazon behind them and a delayed release to tweak the game to perfection, these are promising additions to a tried-and-tested formula.

With the 20th May release date just around the corner, get yourself ready by adding Crucible to your Steam wishlist and check out more in-depth info on the Crucible website.

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MOBA SMITE Offer $50 Bundle for Free

MMO powerhouse SMITE: Battleground of the Gods is a free-to-play MOBA in which gods fight to the death. If that isn’t reason enough to immediately get a hold of this game, then perhaps the latest bundle offering by publishers Hi-Rez will convince you to give it a try.

As of 28th April, the beloved MOBA is now the first and currently only game of its genre available on the Epic Games Store – a marketplace created by the brains behind industry giant, Fortnite. 

To celebrate this landmark occasion, Hi-Rez are piling on a heap of perks as a treat for both new and veteran players, including:

  • A bundle containing $50 worth of in-game content for SMITE available for free to new and returning players through the Epic Games store. 
  • A month-long sale for the two most popular bundles in SMITE in the Epic Games store. Namely, the Ultimate God Pack at $14.99 50% off and the Digital Deluxe Edition at $47.99 20% off.  
  • Triple the standard amount for the Support-a-Creator program revenue share – now at 15% of all purchases. 
  • Cross-Play & Cross-Progression are activated between the Epic Games Store and other SMITE platforms. 

The announcement even comes with its own trailer which you can take a look at below:

Fans of the genre are probably already well aware of this popular title, though if you’ve been waiting for a reason to give it a shot then here it is. For those who are unfamiliar – here’s a handy beginner’s guide page to get you started. Then head on over to the Epic Games store to get stuck in. 

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Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview – Mystical Royale

The battle royale genre may be beaten to a pulp with a seemingly perpetual stream of new releases, but apparently there’s room for more. This year, we’re going to witness an interesting showdown between two new games, each one with its own merits in this battle for the last game standing: Hunter’s Arena: Legends and Pearl Abyss’ Shadow Arena.

Hunter’s Arena: Legends is the first game by Korean outfit Mantisco, a PC exclusive crafted with the always reliable Unreal Engine 4. A closed alpha in late 2019 showed the game’s promising mix of action RPG and battle royale mechanics, and a recent closed beta revealed the progress made by the development team in the meantime. What it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in sheer energy and ambition, not to mention its killer looks.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview City

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Run to the Forest, Run

The standard battle royale game modes show up for Hunter’s Arena: Legends. You have your solo and trio options where 60 players battle for supremacy, and a free for all mode limited to four Legends is also under development. However, the unusual addition of a tag match is a welcome departure from the tried-and-test modes, adding an unexpected beat’em up flavor to the game. Think of it as a sort of Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter mode, where you pick two warriors and step into a confined arena in a frantic tag team match.

Starting with the basics, you must pick one character among the available selection of Legends. During the closed beta we had a decent range of fighters, most of them focusing on melee, but a couple favored long-range combat and a single character was versed on mid-range action. The cast is considerably diverse and resourceful, drawing inspiration from different sources but mostly from fantasy and eastern mythology. The ensemble is appealing enough, with a massive panda galloping at high speed or a cute young girl named Dara who prefers to fly everywhere instead of running.

The action RPG side of Hunter’s Arena: Legends is going to take your character through several levels of abilities and skills. There is a huge mastery tree that you unlock as you gain levels, strengthening aspects such as weapon attack and health, among many others. This is the touted RPG progression system of the game, one that is bolstered by your performance in the battlefield.

The beginning of each match sees the gates of a small city sitting in the middle of the forest open, letting all players out into the wild in a frantic rush for the grind. You must make the most of the meager seconds of forced peace to hunt down monsters, getting as far as possible from other players so that you don’t turn into an appetizing first target. Eliminating creatures, hunting bosses, and raiding dungeons are activities that will earn you experience points and levels, improving your stats and providing you with valuable points to distribute among many skills. The more you farm and stay alive, the stronger you will be when the circle shrinks and only a handful of players are fighting to be the one left standing.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Dara

The combat system isn’t extremely in-depth but provides enough opportunities for combos, cancels, and swift comebacks. I’m not a great fan of using the same button for attacking and defending, but I quickly grasped the concept and understood the intention of the whole high risk/high reward intention. Timing is crucial, as you find an opening in your rival’s attack pattern and counterattack with relentless force, breaking his guard.

While there are a few intricate strategies and skillful combos to use when you are playing solo, it’s when you are a part of a three-man squad that Hunter’s Arena: Legends truly shines. Organizing a group that covers all the basics (melee, mid-range, and long-range) and meticulously sticking to the plan, relying on strength by numbers and never straying from the winning path is how the game lives to its full potential. Several new strategies that you had only dreamed of open up for combat, as each team member dutifully performs his assigned role on the battlefield.

The vast arena has thousands of monsters waiting for your blade or other weapon of choice and has different activities and resources at your disposal. When you are playing trios, death is not the end; there are shrines where your teammates can revive you. Wild horses patiently wait for your command to use them for fast travel, and you can even take a friend along with you for the ride. Some points in the map provide gliders for you to journey long distances and quickly get closer to a boss that just spawned, for example.

If you prefer to partake in a more intimate kind of brawl, the tag match is there for you. You pick a pair of fighters that you deem complementary and enter a picturesque arena where they will fight another duo. The battles are one on one, putting forward the skill and timing that you have hopefully learned in the battle royale mode.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Tag Mode

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Little Time for Sightseeing

The least that can be said about Hunter’s Arena: Legends graphics is that they are gorgeous. The environment is diverse and extremely beautiful, gifted with a realism and attention to detail that puts many current games to shame. From lush forests to the stunning river or the arid regions, there is always this realistic style to the settings that sits particularly well with the fantastical characters. The way that the leaves are blown by your attacks in the arena is remarkable, and the weather effects are impressive, more specifically the thunderstorm and the puddles that ensue. A day and night cycle provides a nice change of style, adding a sense of the passing of time as you see the legends counter steadily diminish.

Each one of the legends is thoroughly detailed, with incredible attention to the hairworks and the cloth that softly waves as you move. Running is a gentle process that begins with a cool animation and suddenly you are zooming around the battlefield in Sonic the Hedgehog fashion.

In other words, Hunter’s Arena: Legends has the style and seemingly the core mechanics as well. Each character feels unique, with a set of skills that paves the way for intense cooperation, and a huge mastery assortment to keep you invested for some time as you strengthen your character.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Character Selection

South Korea isn’t particularly known for its battle royale games, but Hunter’s Arena: Legends seems poised to carve a spot, possibly alongside Shadow Arena. There’s no shortage of ambition in this title, with a hint of fan service here and there to catch a specific crowd, but overall it is a strong offering that cuts no corners in order to provide a rich and compelling battle royale experience. In the end, the success or failure of this game may rest upon its pricing, an unfair but oh so true examination based on the multitude of similar games that have fallen by the wayside. Mantisco clearly has the skills, now let’s hope it has the marketing talent to put forward as well.

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Shadow Arena Closed Beta Arrives Today

The Battle Royale, MOBA spinoff of Black Desert Online, developed by Pearl Abyss, is now live! Choose your favorite heroes from the MMORPG and enter the Shadow Arena!

shadow arena closed beta

In Shadow Arena, 40 players compete against one another in a battle to be the last one standing on the battlefield. Players can choose to fight as one of nine characters, each with their own unique fighting style. To climb to the top of the pack, players must defeat monsters and collect loot to upgrade their gear. However, securing victory comes down to a player’s superior skill execution and strategy. Shadow Arena combines MOBA, battle royale, and MMO genres to create a new type of PvP action.

Currently, the game has 2 modes: Solo and Team. Each of these features skill-based matchmaking that provides stronger opponents based on performance.

Looking to get a key? Grab one from our Giveaway!

Source: Press Release

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Hunter’s Arena: Legends Beta Begins Feb 20

Starting on Thursday, February 20, Steam players in Asia will have the opportunity to take part in the closed beta for Hunter’s Arena: Legends.

hunter's arena legends closed beta

Hunter’s Arena: Legends is a highly-anticipated hybrid of MOBA, battle royale, and action RPG developed by Mantisco. Those interested in testing out the game can register through the Mantisco portal for a chance at gaining access. From those who register, a lucky 10,000 will be selected to beta test the game. The Closed Beta will run from Thursday, Feb 20, to Sunday, Feb 23, 12pm KST.

Additionally, there will be more than 300 popular streamers demonstrating Hunter’s Arena: Legends during the test period that viewers can tune into including: Pokimane, SypherPK, imaqtpie, LIRIK and more.

Unique features of Hunter’s Arena: Legends:

  • Unique Character Classes – Classic MOBA-inspired character classes offer players unique ways to compete for glory. Every player class offers different strengths and weaknesses, along with countless skill and equipment upgrades;
  • Solo and Team Play – Players must balance aggressive and strategic game styles by going head-to-head or by teaming up to take down daunting computer-generated bosses;
  • Lightning-Quick Combat – A unique fighting system allows for strategic combos including parrying, a counter system and more for smooth online tournaments;
  • Gorgeous Arenas – Hunter’s Arena: Legends utilizes Unreal Engine technology to create detailed character models and an immersive world.

Source: Press Release

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Black Desert Online Spinoff Shadow Arena Beta Announced

The Shadow Arena beta has been announced by Pearl Abyss today. Shadow Arena was originally a game within Black Desert Online that has evolved into a game of its own as time has gone on. According to Pearl Abyss, while Shadow Arena does draw from Black Desert Online it has created its own style drawing from Battle Royales, MOBAs, and MMOs to create a unique arena fighter. Shadow Arena has two modes, solo and team which each challenge players in different ways.

A closed beta test for Shadow Arena will be running from February 27th to March 8th. Registration to take part in the beta test can be done on Shadow Arena’s official site. The beta will take place on Steam and will not be available for consoles though the game is expected to be available on consoles after it launches on PC. Right now Pearl Abyss says that they expect Shadow Arena to be released on PC within the first half of this year.

You can also check out the trailer for Shadow Arena which was released back in November as part of Pearl Abyss Connect 2019. The game looks exactly as amazing as you would expect considering it has been spun off from Black Desert Online which is without a doubt the most beautiful MMO that has ever been made.

 

Source: Press Release

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A New F2P MOBA Enters the Field as the Blood of Steel Beta Begins

You might have thought that you’d never see another new MOBA be released because it seemed like the genre burned bright and fast, I certainly didn’t. But, there’s a new free to play MOBA on the scene and it is called Blood of Steel and it is being made by Evolution Studio, the in-house development studio for YC Games.

Blood of Steel is currently in beta with 3 servers for different regions of the world; North America, Europe, and Asia. Beta testing is going on only until December 12th so if you’re interested you’d better jump in soon.

As for the concept behind it, I honestly think the press release said it best so I’m just going to copy that portion below.

In Blood of Steel, you command the army of a legendary commander from world history to conquer cities and expand your territory against other players online to ultimately rule the world. Set throughout the Middle Ages, players choose from multiple authentic battlefields as they engage in 5-v-5, 7-v-7 or 10-v-10 legion-based battles, with each individual player allowed to lead up to 40 AI soldiers. Clever use of terrain, management of different troop types and adapting to dynamic weather systems incorporating variables such as rain and snow are the keys to victory. As well as the legion-based warfare, players can play a one-on-one duel in PvP battles in the Heroes Arena, offering them a chance to truly show their mastery of the complex fighting system.

“Blood of Steel represents our vision of what a true modern MOBA should be, combining classic elements of wartime strategy games, large scale battles, challenge of one-on-one duels and opportunity to compete with your friends online,” said Cao, Game Director of YC Games.

It certainly sounds like a unique take on the MOBA genre and reminds me of the good old days of play Warcraft 2 and Age of Empires 2 with friends. If this is of interest to you then you can check it out on Steam. According to their Steam page the game has a planned release date of January 9th.

 

Source: Press Release

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