Battle Shapers, the upcoming FPS game which just entered Early Access on Steam this month, offers a refreshing take on the genre with its satisfyingly smooth and responsive movement and gunplay mechanics.
As Ada, a combat android armed with a giant mechanical fist, players embark on a mission to take down out-of-control robots. With its fast-paced combat, robust melee mechanics, and polished design, Battle Shapers has the potential to become a standout title in the roguelite genre.
Electrifying Combat Mechanics
At the core of Battle Shapers lies its remarkable combat mechanics. Ada’s bionic fist takes center stage, providing an exhilarating and rewarding melee experience. Initially introduced as a means to regain shields by finishing off enemies, the punch system quickly reveals itself as the game’s main attraction. With the ability to charge a knockout uppercut, deliver a brutal forward jab, or execute devastating hooks by leaping left or right, each punch offers a distinct playstyle.
Mastering the intricate mechanics of the punch system becomes crucial for prolonging survival and achieving victory. The intuitive controls, reminiscent of Doomfist from Overwatch, combined with the fluidity of Mega Man Zero, create a deeply enjoyable and responsive combat experience. The impact of landing a punch is accentuated by the game’s superb sound design and the temporary slowdown effect, elevating the satisfaction to new heights.
While Ada’s bionic fist steals the spotlight, Battle Shapers does not abandon traditional firearms. However, guns play a supporting role, emphasizing short bursts and strategic use to set up devastating melee attacks. The game cleverly balances gunplay by implementing small magazine sizes and lengthy reload times, incentivizing players to rely on Ada’s formidable fists.
Before each run, Ada can switch her core, which dictates her subclass and unique combat abilities. The Overdrive core, for example, equips Ada with fierce Wolverine claws, allowing her to continue attacking while dodging. This core also buffs damage and movement speed with each successfully tagged foe, adding an exciting layer of gameplay depth.
Moreover, Battle Shapers showcases a vast array of weapons and upgrades, each with its own distinctive perks. From shotguns to energy weapons, the game offers an impressive variety that encourages experimentation. While a few nuances in weapon balance may need fine-tuning, the overall selection delivers exciting and engaging combat options.
Battle Shapers exhibits a level of polish akin to Blizzard’s renowned titles. The game features meticulously crafted art designs, reminiscent of Mega Man, complemented by colorful and visually distinct environments. The attention to detail extends to the implementation of reactions from bosses when players clear arenas swiftly, providing an immersive and dynamic experience.
The soundtrack of Battle Shapers deserves particular praise. With its wicked synths and intense guitar solos, the music amps up the adrenaline and perfectly reflects the game’s fast-paced nature. The combination of stunning visuals, reactive gameplay elements, and a meticulously crafted soundscape contribute to a highly immersive and captivating experience.
While Battle Shapers leans heavily into its fast-paced combat, it also incorporates roguelite elements to enhance replayability. The demo showcases a lightweight implementation of these mechanics, focusing primarily on combat arenas and item/enemy spawns. Rather than excessively burdening players with the intricate systems prevalent in other roguelite titles, Battle Shapers strikes a fine balance.
On subsequent runs, the game rewards players for defeating bosses by unlocking additional challenges and permanent upgrades. These challenges provide optional objectives that add variety to each playthrough, ensuring that no two runs feel entirely the same. The currency system further encourages exploration and strategic decision-making, as players collect resources to unlock powerful permanent upgrades.
Room for Improvement
While Battle Shapers excels in several areas, a few aspects could benefit from refinement and additional attention. The game’s map generation could encompass more variety, as the overall layout and order of combat arenas often feel repetitive. A more randomized approach to level design would contribute to the longevity of each playthrough.
Additionally, the double jump and glide mechanics can occasionally feel clunky and unresponsive, hindering the fluidity of movement. A smoother implementation of these abilities would enhance both traversal and combat experiences, allowing players to seamlessly navigate the game’s environments.
Furthermore, some weapon and ability balancing may require adjustments to create a more diverse and competitive loot pool. While certain weapon perks, such as those offering substantial damage boosts against specific enemies, feel overpowered, others do not provide adequate incentives. Rebalancing these aspects would ensure a more enjoyable and engaging progression system.
Lastly, the difficulty of boss encounters warrants further consideration. While challenging content is appealing, the current difficulty curve may prove a bit steep for newcomers. The limited opportunity for practice and the potential for devastating blows from bosses may initially deter some players. Fine-tuning the difficulty progression through increased opportunities for learning and adjustment could create a more satisfying experience for all skill levels.
Battle Shapers presents a promising and exhilarating first-person melee experience. Featuring a combat system that flawlessly blends the fluidity of movement with satisfying punches, the game keeps players engaged and energized. With its balanced use of firearms as a complement to Ada’s mighty fists, Battle Shapers offers a refreshing departure from traditional shooters.
The game’s polished presentation, characterized by visually stunning art designs and a phenomenal soundtrack, adds an extra layer of immersion. While a few areas, such as map generation and balance adjustments, could benefit from improvement, the overall experience is highly enjoyable and captivating.
In conclusion, Battle Shapers has a real potential to become a standout title in the roguelite genre. Its combination of responsive combat mechanics, engaging progression systems, and polished presentation make it a must-play for fans of fast-paced first-person games. As the game continues to develop in early access, it will be fascinating to see how it evolves and further refines its already impressive gameplay. Let’s see where the devs take us in their Early Access journey with Battle Shapers. I’m excited.