Beta: Smashmuck Champions
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Hey there Time Wasters!
This week I've got something different for you: a new MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). Although the game is still in its beta, it's free to play on Steam right now and so a few friends and I checked it out.
The game is called Smashmuck Champions; a game where you and your team have to complete certain tasks and each task is based on what arena or game type you choose to play. There are several different types of games and several different characters you can pick to play as, so you won't be getting bored easily.
I'll start by talking about the game types, which is where this game has good things going for it. Unlike a lot of MOBAs that just have one or two game types, Smashmuck Champions has five and each one is largely different from the others. For those of you who are League of Legends players, Smashmuck Champion's Siege game type is the closest thing you get to Summoner's Rift. In Siege you just have to destroy the towers so that you can get in and destroy the enemy team's base.
But Smashmuck also has Plunderball, Conquest, Destroyer and Gauntlet modes. Plunderball is exactly like capture the flag, so no need to go into a lot of detail here. Conquest's game consists of fighting for control of capture points and keeping control of them for resources. The Destroyer game type gives you a robot you have to feed crystals to in order to make stronger. The other team also has a robot they're feeding crystals to, and the objective here is to make your robot stronger while also trying to destroy the enemy's. The final game mode, Gauntlet, is simply a series of challenges that you and your team fight to complete within a given time limit. Miss one challenge and you fail.
So having a lot of different games to play is fun, but what about the champions you have to play with? Here's where things start to get a little iffy. All the characters have interesting and fun abilities to use, but they're definitely not something most would call appealing. Almost every single champion in Smashmuck looks like a Skylanders reject and most, if they had been Skylanders, would definitely not be up on my shelf for display.
The characters also have a lot of balancing issues, making some characters overpowered in one game type or another. The character Nexi, for example, is a surefire select in Plunderball because of her ability to go invisible, which makes the plunderball invisible too. Three Nexi on our team and the game was over in five minutes. This character isn't the only one with broken abilities when it comes to game types though, several of them have this issue depending on what you're playing.
Leveling up your character in this game unfortunately favors those who have been playing the game for a while. Each character can be equipped with weapons that get stronger the more your play with them as well as workouts that give your character buffs. Workout slots are unlocked the higher your coaching level is. This means that those who have been playing longer have an automatic advantage. I'm not saying that those who have been playing longer shouldn't have an advantage, but they shouldn't have as much of an advantage that this game gives them. Experienced players should just be given one buff or the other (fully leveled items or unlocked workout slots), not both.
There's one last thing I want to touch on before closing: player friendliness. Over all, this game isn't player friendly. The hud, though organized, is hard to navigate and somewhat confusing. The controls make moving in game difficult and using abilities is even worse. The maps have a problem too as they have holes that you can fall into. Falling to your death through one of these holes not only breaks the flow of the game, but gets increasingly frustrating when the angle of the map hid the hole from you, or when an enemy is just standing by a bridge you have to cross and keeps blowing you off into no-man's-land with no effort.
So there are a few problems with this game, some bigger than others, and some that will hopefully be fixed before this game is out of beta. That said, the game feels like it's more geared for kids but can still be enjoyed by adults. However, I have to say that it's average at best for a MOBA.
Smashmuck Champions earns 2.5 GiN Gems out of 5.
Billy loves nothing more than leveling and grinding through a good RPG. And he knows that Time Waster is not a negative term when it comes to games. : email@example.com.