Review

Battlerite Royale (early) Post Mortem: Why it failed, and what it did well

Ahead of its time, or suffering from mistaken identity?

Since we’re on a bit of a dying game roll here, let’s talk about Battlerite Royale.

Battlerite Royale is a pretty decent take on the battle royale boom from the makers of -- you guessed it -- Battlerite. Unfortunately, back in July 2019, the developers of Battlerite -- Stunlock Studios -- announced that they would be scaling back development of Battlerite and Battlerite Royale. The games aren’t closing, but will be in “maintenance mode” for the “foreseeable future,” according to the last update.

The game itself is actually pretty unique for a modern PC game. Mobile games of the same format have used its formula and have been pretty successful with it. Unfortunately, it looks like that popularity doesn’t extend to the PC gaming market, or at least not in this case.

Survival Heroes SEA Launch Trailer

The game is different from most battle royales you’ll see. It uses a WASD movement scheme and is entirely top down, like the original Battlerite. You get six active abilities as well as up to four consumable items. The amount of abilities is very interesting to me, as you can purchase some at the start and gain the rest throughout the round. There seems to be no room for camping in Battlerite Royale, if you don’t move you don’t get stronger. The consumable items are very refreshing as well. You have your standard fare -- Health Potions and what not. But there are also things like Barrel disguises which you can use to hide and then jump -- or rather, roll -- onto your opponent, stunning them. There’s Frost Flake, which covers an area in slippery ice, and more unique items.

The main thing I like about Battlerite and its royale mode is; most of the abilities are skill based. When Battlerite first came out it was thought of as an arena version of a MOBA, based entirely around skill level. For the most part that seems to be true, and the royale mode only emphasizes that more. If you don’t have the reaction time and precision to take out an enemy before they end you, then you’re out.

Battlerite Royale - Free-To-Play Trailer

I think the reason the game did poorly is because it labelled itself a battle royale to match the trend. It really isn’t a battle royale in the same sense of Apex Legends or PUBG. It feels closer to what a battle royale should be, while keeping the pacing people look for. When battle royale games took off, everyone wanted a giant arena with fast and tight gunplay. Whatever other features were added in either added or took away from the experience.

That’s where Battlerite Royale failed. It tried to show itself off as what it wasn’t. Once people saw that it was different from what they wanted, they left it. In concept and in practice, the game is good and I actually really enjoyed my time with it. It brought the concept of a MOBA Royale into the spotlight, and I think it really had potential to succeed, and so did a lot of players too.

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Kevin Dewan

Writer for SQUAD, runs after things a lot. Won't BM you to your face. Okay with losing as long as it's funny.
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