PAX East 2013: SmashMuck Champions could be the next Monday Night Combat

SmashMuck Champions Screenshot - smashmuck champions

Before checking out SmashMuck Champions at PAX East, I had only seen it in video form. That video showing some colorful nonsense, didn’t really give me a good idea of what I was in for. Needless to say, SmashMuck Champions is a surprisingly fun and interesting game with a pile of depth under the hood.

Here’s my own personal pitch for the game: League of Legends with FPS-inspired gametypes, persistent character progression, and a Monday Night Combat aesthetic. Even then, I’m not sure that paints an accurate picture.

SmashMuck Champions

You play as one of several different characters that run the gamut from quick and aggressive, slow and defensive, carefully strategic, and more support oriented. You play from an overhead, angled perspective in a variety of game modes that mirror CTF, conquest, and a Siege game type that more closely resembles a MOBA. The action is quick but strategic, with a ton of variables thanks to the variety of characters available and power-ups placed around the map.

For example, in my time playing a Plunderball match -- a game mode similar to Capture The Flag -- I played as Vooghoul, a ranged support character with some really interesting tricks. I played defensively, setting up a pile of bombs at our base for any unsuspecting ball runners. Even worse, I could pull players into my pile of bombs with a vortex attack to ensure the kill. In a demonstration of the game, I watched one of the developers leap off of an enemy’s head to reach higher ground, and he said players can coordinate to use this tactic as a team.

Another aspect of the game that the trailers fail to convey is that it’s really quite colorful and gorgeous to look at. The appealing art style and sheer variety of playable characters makes for a vibrant experience that ran smooth as silk in the PAX demo.

SmashMuck Champions

Unlike a MOBA, you unlock abilities for each character in a persistent manner. The progression is more akin to an FPS. Each character seems to have a lot of options, too, allowing two players who are using the same character to play them differently.

The controls are quite simple, with buttons for movement, jumping, a basic attack, and three different skills. The depth comes from the variety of moves and the dynamic team compositions players can create. This is a game about teamwork through and through.

Either way, you don’t have to listen to me. The great thing about SmashMuck Champions is that it’s currently playable in its beta version. Simply check out SmashMuck.com and register for free. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

If you like to read the latest movie reviews, or random thoughts about whatever is going on in gaming lately, follow me @JoeDonuts!

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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