If you've been looking for a definitive alternative in platform fighter games that can thrash with the best of them, it's finally here. MultiVersus is shaping up to be not only a contender for the platform fighter crown, but will be able to live in its own bubble far away from a certain, dominant Super Smash Bros. franchise. The gameplay has its own nuances and deviations, such as its focus on team-based combat. Characters are crafted in such a way that playing solo is indeed an option, but it's far more rewarding to find a buddy, pick two characters, and start coordinating your attacks to stand the best chance of defeating other teams. Players will quickly find a comprehensive perks system that follows an individual character's progression the more they're used, offering small benefits such as a third jump, a small percentage added to attack power or defensive maneuvers, or perks that even dramatically change a character's moves. When two players equip the same perk, an additional boost is factored in that can change the game without making it unfair for a rival team. Many characters also have moves that can help their teammates by offering status buffs – or even save them from flying off the level and costing the team a point.
MultiVersus is a game that easily could've gotten by on the strength of its character cameos and nothing else. Instead, in addition to a surprisingly layered combat system, there's an overwhelming amount of charm present. Characters acknowledge one another during matches, adding to the intrigue of matchups just to hear what one character will say to or about one another. Between matches, players can unlock "variants" (different costumes/forms) of characters with their own unique dialogue different than their original form. Players can even customize small details such as the effects when they knock a rival out, the taunts a character can make during a match, and even announcer packs so players can hear Bugs Bunny or Batman replace the default narrator. All the characters are true to who they are in the shows or movies they originate from, and it's that personal touch and care – combined with the in-depth fighting mechanics and the myriad of customization options – that proves MultiVersus isn't the next Smash Bros., and it isn't trying to be. But it's the first MultiVersus, and it seems as though it's not going anywhere any time soon.