Like just about every platform fighting game before it, Warner Brothers Multiverse received a number of comparisons with Super Smash Bros. Beyond its core mechanics, the very idea of a crossover fighting game suggests smash. Although it features a very similar gameplay loop, centered around damaging your opponents and then knocking them out of a ring, Multiverse is its own game. That being said, there are basic mechanics and ideas in most games of the genre that you will find in Multiverse.
With the advantage of years to play smash competitive, I spent time looking for what stood out to me Multiverse. Here are five of the biggest differences and five of the most surprising similarities between Multiverse and smash.
You might be surprised to hear that smash is one of the few platform fighters to have any kind of shield. While some, like the next Scares, have the ability to block, most do not. Instead of a block or a shield, Multiverse only has dodges. fans of smash might also be surprised that there’s no grabbing, at least not the way normal grabs work in a fighting game. Instead, some characters like Superman have special moves that allow them to grab their opponents.
When using an air attack (one of five distinct moves related to normal attacks in the air) in smash, your move will be canceled the moment your character lands and you won’t be able to do anything for a few frames. This is called landing offset. In Multiverseinstead of stopping a move once your character hits the ground or a platform, your character’s attack will continue until the move is no longer active (or until you are hit out of animation), then you’ll land without any lag.
In the previous smash games for Wii U and 3DS, special modes allowed you to add enhancements to a character’s ability. Otherwise, what you see is what you get smash. Multiverse, on the other hand, takes an approach that would be more recognizable to MOBA and FPS players with its character power-up systems. Some perks can add extra frames of invincibility or extra damage to an attack, while others can reduce vertical recoil or restore some health when landing with a projectile. There are also character-specific perks that can alter specific aspects of their kit.
In smash, the ability to grab onto the edge of a stage after being thrown makes recovery much easier and safer. Grabbing onto the ledge (the first time around) grants you varying degrees of invulnerability throughout the franchise. In Multiverse, not only are you completely vulnerable during the recovery, but you are not assured of the safety of the ledge. Instead, you’ll need to jump the stage wall, use air jumps, air dodges, and well-timed special moves to get back while avoiding being kicked out of the ring by an opponent.
Multiverse was deliberately designed around competitive 2v2 play. Whereas smash Is have a team mode, Multiverse has perks, passives, and even moves specifically designed for use in a team match. In addition, smash is not necessarily intended to be played competitively. Optional mechanics like items, stage hazards, and more can all add a layer of chaos to the game. Multiverse is not the same. There are a limited number of items, which are disabled by default. Stages mirror those favored by competition smash community. The result is a much less chaotic experience.
In smash, there are a few characters with passive abilities that change or otherwise improve their moveset and abilities on the battlefield. Lucario does more damage and knockback as he takes more damage. Little Mac and Cloud both have meters that fill up as they fight, giving them different options. In Multiverse, each character has one; Bugs Bunny can rummage through a box of different items to throw at crouching opponents, for example.
One of the most important aspects of smash, especially at a competitive level, is edgeguarding. Because it is more difficult to recover in Multiverse, characters have more options to use to land on solid ground. This makes edge protection very similar to smash. Each character has a spike (a move that launches opponents straight down) at their disposal, which makes the process equally tense and involved. Adding extra obstacles and removing holes in entry points for your opponent is the name of the game here, just like in smash.
There are some characters in smash, like ROB, which have moves that work on a cooldown after use. This is much more common in Multiverse; in fact, most characters have specials that work on some sort of cooldown. Some are able to reduce this cooldown through optimized play and a selection of strategic perks, but if Bugs uses his rocket, he’s gone until a cooldown ends, much like the Robin’s spell books.
In smashyou can perform a smash attack by flicking the directional stick and pressing the attack button at the same time while on the ground. If you hold the entrance, you can charge the attack. It is almost the same in Multiversealthough more characters are also able to charge their antennae.
Air dodging has been one of the few inconsistent things in the Smash series. In Melee and Ultimateyou can do a directional air dodge, which allows you to do something like an invulnerable dash through the air. Multiverse lets you do more air dodges per jump, but it still functions as an invincible air dash.
Charlie Wacholz is a freelance writer and student. When he’s not playing the latest and greatest indie games, competing in Smash tournaments, or working on a new cocktail recipe, you can find him on Twitter at @chas_mke.