Another battle royale? Do we really need another one? In the case of Spellbreak, yes we do. Spellbreak takes a battle royale and puts it in a magical and mythical world. Players will pick up different elemental gauntlets and magical equipment in order to stun and kill enemies. While the main gameplay formula might follow almost exactly other games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, the magical weaponry and items add a lot of depth and fresh entertainment to the battle royale world.
Players will drop into an island as squads or individuals at various different drop points instead of jumping off a plane or bus, but it is almost unnoticeable and feels primarily like other battle royales. Players will then find equipment and slowly build up their character as the storm closes in on them. It would’ve been nice to have some real changes and differences in the overall objective and gameplay, but Spellbreak makes up for it with all of the other new gameplay aspects added to it.
First, let’s talk about the weapons. Each gauntlet that a character can pick up comes with a unique light attack and a heavy, cool-down attack depending on the element that it is. These attacks are all on an energy gauge that recharges very quickly but doesn’t allow players to spam attacks like crazy. It’s a really good balance and allows for really quick and intense battles without turning into complete chaos. There are currently six elements, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the coming months, more elemental gauntlet types were added. For example, I am really fond of the conduit gauntlet. My favorite ability for movement is the teleport rune. I can start with the conduit gauntlet every round if I want and find upgrades for it and equip a second gauntlet to balance my long-range conduit attacks. It is great to be able to know from the beginning what weapon you’ll have and it is exciting to find the runes and other gauntlets that you like as you fight others for them.
Next, let’s talk about movement. The general speed of the game is really smooth and fast while never being super difficult to play. In this game, all characters can fly/float. It’s a really easy and intuitive mechanic, press the jump button to jump or hold it to glide and lift yourself up in the air. It makes traversing really easy and natural and gives a good verticality to the game. Along with this flying and smooth movements are different runes that give extra powerful types of traversal. These runes include a long glide, a short dash, a charged teleport, and short term invisibility. They all feel really well-balanced and fun to use, and I can’t wait for more to be added.
The last innovation to talk about is the mastery section. As players choose an initial gauntlet to use for the match, they will gain experience and mastery of that element. Gaining mastery in elemental ranks unlocks various aesthetic items, currency to use in the store, and more. This is a nice incentive for players to keep playing and trying out new elements. There are also talents that can alter your character’s general stats or add an extra ability. None of these talents are game-breaking but can give players another chance and layer of customization. I’m sure eventually some people will find some excessively overpowered combinations of elements, talents, and runes, but overall things seem to be well balanced.
This game isn’t perfect; there are some small issues to address. I did find some of the connections on my shots weren’t hitting like they should, either on PC or on PlayStation 4. This could be from some bugs or connection errors and lag, which should be mostly solvable within the next couple of months anyway. I also think that squads, solos, and duos all should’ve been released at the initial release date, but they are slowly being rolled out and now players can either playing squads of three or solo. The last complaint is the map. It is pretty boring. There are a few somewhat notable structures like a small maze and a larger castle, but all the ruins and other structures look practically identical and the landscape is just filled with sporadic buildings, hills, and mountains. Some underground caves, larger cityscapes, or really unique landforms would make the island feel much less stale.
Spellbreak has incredible potential, and I think it’s a great addition to the battle royale family. Hopefully, in the coming months, we can see more game modes, new aesthetic items to purchase, and even some new runes or elements to play with inside the game. There’s a lot of room for this game to grow, but it already has a really great start and is worth checking out if you’re interested in fantasy games or battle royales.