Smashing through realities and turning the world upside down seems to be all the rage in entertainment right now, not least in WB Games’ Multiversus, which got us thinking about our favourite universe-spinning gaming experiences.
Of course the likes of Kingdom Hearts bring together multiple franchises and locations by default, but other games have been more nuanced in how they've tackled exploring the multiverse.
Does anything multi-dimensional stand out for you? Let us know in the comments.
Sea of Thieves | Liam Andrews
Last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed content for Sea of Thieves was a bit of a surprise announcement, even though really, when you think about it, the two fit quite well together.
Making my way through these special missions (I think I’ve only got one to go) was a lot of fun, and often tasked players with delving into strange new worlds deep below the waves or beyond the 'living' realm. While I’m not the biggest POTC fan, I do have a fondness for the first two films, and I enjoyed stumbling across items or characters directly linked to them. Swimming through the wreck of the Black Pearl was a particular highlight.
Away from gameplay, Sea of Thieves has also been pretty good at incorporating other notable franchises in the form of cosmetics, which is also fun. The Spartan set that turned up in my inventory one day was pretty cool, and even though I prefer to mix and match items rather than use a complete set, it was still nice to have, and don't forget the limited-edition Borderlands-themed ship.
Rare have even gone so far as to reference the very machines we play games on, with The Duke ship set boasting the bright, red, green, blue and yellow of the Xbox face buttons as well as a generous helping of black and neon green colouring.
Injustice 2 | Chris Brand
Injustice 2 uses DC's well-established Multiverse as a tool for storytelling and a totally believable, in-universe, reason for adding a whole bunch of wacky modifiers to fights. Heroes and villains can switch allegiances, sometimes becoming the very thing they despise, sans any changes to the real characters we know and love.
The single-player Story mode is similar in design to the more recent entries in NetherRealm Studios' flagship fighter Mortal Kombat, giving players a few fights with a variety of characters as chapters progress. The writing is as good as you would expect, telling a tale through relatively short cutscenes and managing to flesh out the plot without pulling players away from the action for too long.
Multiverse mode plays out like a series of ever-changing "What If" scenarios, which fits in nicely with the overall narrative. Everything is canon, just not always in this universe.
DC Comics' gargantuan catalogue, built up over many decades, requires re-invention in order to not get stale and it's an excellent mechanic to incorporate in Injustice, as there's a constant stream of shiny new things to unlock and DLC fighters can be added seamlessly, even from other Warner Bros. properties, such as Mortal Kombat's Sub-Zero and Raiden.
Warner Bros. various worlds collide in the latest brawler from WB Games, we took MultiVersus for a spin, during its closed alpha, to give you our first impressions.
What is there to keep you playing?
Of the 15 characters (which will no doubt expand after launch), five are locked away behind in-game currency coins, which will be available as premium currency when the game eventually launches, free-to-play around July, after an open beta.
Within the game there’s a plethora of unlocks including character variants (a.k.a. costumes), ringout animations, taunts, 2D emotes, profile icons and banners, but otherwise, beyond mastering each character’s moves, there’s no singleplayer story to explore here.
How are the characters?
As you might expect, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Even though each character has the same basic controls, some movesets can feel more varied than others. For example, Wonder Woman has a lasso and a variety of shield moves to play around with, but Taz seems to turn into a whirlwind at the drop of a hat.
You can customise characters’ play style to a small extent with a series of offensive and defensive perks, which unlock once you’ve main-ed them for a while, though it was difficult to say how much of an impact this had on gameplay after only a few days of play.
So what’s the verdict?
There have been plenty of games which have gone after Smash Bros.' crown in the past to varying success, from PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale to Brawlhalla, and none have really hit the spot. Warner Bros. certainly has a suite of characters to choose from, if the never-ending cameos in Space Jam A New Legacy are anything to go by, so there’s certainly potential for fun future updates.
In terms of what’s here right now, given it will be free-to-play it ticks the boxes you’d expect, but there might not be enough variety of stages to keep hardcore fighting fans hooked in the long run. Once the open beta rolls around in July, which seems likely to lead right into the full release, we’ll see the full range of content the game has to offer. For now, it’s one to keep an eye on.
As if Sonic returning to cinemas for a second time wasn’t enough, SEGA decided to spoil us further recently with the announcement of Sonic Origins, a remastered collection of four undisputed classic Sonic titles: Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic CD and Sonic 3: Sonic and Knuckles.
Since some of us played one or two of these the first time around, we’re of a generation that grew up with the fastest blue blur in video games, it got us thinking about what our favourite outing might be.
Do you have a favourite? Is it in this remastered collection? Let us know in the comments.
Chris | Sonic The Hedgehog 2 | MegaDrive/Genesis
Sonic's second clash with Dr. Robotnik (as he was known at the time) has a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. It was the first game I remember playing with my old man, him leading the way as the eponymous hedgehog and me darting about as Tails.
Looking back, I probably wasn't as much help as I could have been, but being able to respawn infinitely without penalty meant that my dad could concentrate on getting through the level without having to keep an eye on me.
Whilst the option of playing in co-op was a huge draw, the biggest addition must surely be the Spin Dash move, which allowed players to quickly get a speed boost from standstill, making those loops easier to navigate and saving from having to backtrack until you had ample space to hit full sprint.
When I think of Sonic 2, the Casino Night Zone instantly pops into my head. The music is burned into my brain for all eternity as we spent far longer on the big slot machine than we needed to, only leaving when we had hit the jackpot enough times to be loaded with gold rings. It's a trait that my dad still carries with him to this very day.