2018 is the year of the Battle Royale game. From Fortnite to Call of Duty: Blackout to PUBG, it’s a defining year for the genre. With such a crowded field of entries, it can be hard for new games to stand out from a crowd that feels increasing stale. Fortunately, Battle Royale fans have something entirely new to look forward to: Spellbreak, an upcoming Battle Royale game that plays like a beautiful cross between Fortnite and Skyrim.
Most gamers are familiar with the basic elements of Battle Royale: a group of players are dropped into a single large map and then fight to be the last one standing. In most entries in the Battle Royale genre, players drop in totally naked (sometimes literally naked), and have to gather supplies that are scattered around the map.
Though there are elements of this in Spellbreak, players won’t be dropping in totally equipment free. All players will pick from a selection of classes, and this class controls the magic they can utilize in combat. This class-based combat system also brings other RPG elements into play. At the start of each match, players can choose two magic classes. Within each class, players have access to a passive ability and three scrolls that you choose and level up as a match progresses. Currently, 11 playable classes have been confirmed, including:
Spellbreak’s imgur page has showcased two of the game’s classes so far: the Pyromancer (fire) and Conduit (lightning), though we’ve also seen glimpses at Ice and Poison abilities.
Magical combat and abilities make up the core of Spellbreak’s PvP experience, but it’s not limited to simply casting spells and hoping to kill your opponents. Passive abilities play a huge role in Spellbreak, and each class has a unique passive ability. For Pyromancers, that ability is Phoenix’s Rebirth, which allows players to revive at half health after their first death. For the Conduit, Lightning Fast increases your movement speed. These abilities shake up the way a Battle Royale is traditionally played, and means that players will have to think a little harder and strategize before they attack.
The different magic classes interact in different ways to make for lethal and unique combinations that can suit any play style. For example, poison magic and fire magic react in explosively. Casting a poison cloud then hitting it with a fireball creates a massive neon green inferno reminiscent of the infamous Wildfire from “Game of Thrones.” Players can also cast a fireball on puddles of poison to ignite them, potentially creating a wall of flame that can block other players in or cut them off.
With 11 playable classes currently, the potential for casting combinations is huge and ripe for experimentation. Duos and Squads have also been confirmed, which means that coordinating magic combos with your team is going to be a big part of playing.
Spellbreak’s map is expansive, the lush green forests and rocky landscapes looking like something out of Skyrim. Of particular note is the ruined castles littered around the map. They’re a focal point for the game’s combat. Wander inside one of these ruins and you’ll find intricate mazes of corridors and battlements. Head up to the castle towers to ambush opponents from above, or lose pursuers in the tangle of crumbling halls within. Castles in-game range in size from small ruins to massive fortresses, breaking up the battlefield with multiple levels and providing ample opportunity for cover and concealment.
The game’s graphical style also sets it apart. The cel-shaded visuals are gorgeous and definitely bring the hit Legend of Zelda game Breath of the Wild to mind. The almost cartoonish look makes the game’s combat colorful, chaotic, and over-the-top, deepening the sense of frantic battle.
Spellbreak is currently available in pre-alpha on Steam. Players can apply for the pre-alpha on the official Spellbreak site, where so-called Founder Packs are also available for purchase that grant access to Alpha Keys and other development-stage goodies, as well as other items available at launch. For more info, you can also check out Spellbreak’s imgur or Reddit page where you can find behind-the-scenes looks and more in-depth examinations of combat. Spellbreak is setting itself apart in a crowded Battle Royale field, and it’s certainly shaping up to be a unique and incredibly cool looking addition to the genre.