It’s no secret that I’ll play anything with a high-fantasy coat of paint. It’s also no secret that I am not a fan of Battle Royale games. So what happens when these two things collide, and I’m forced to become the human embodiment of the button guy meme?
I gave in, of course, and I downloaded Spellbreak. And you know what? I’m having an absolute blast with it.
Not Your Nephew’s Battle Royale
Spellbreak is an action-spellcasting Battle Royale that challenges players to “unleash their inner battlemage”. While the art style may lend people to just call this “Fortnite with wizards”, the gameplay, strategy, and world-building in Spellbreak is in a class of its own, and does an excellent job separating itself from its BR brethren.
Unlike Realm Royale, another BR with a fantasy flair, Spellbreak features no firearms whatsoever. Instead, players choose one of six types of spellcaster (Frostborn, Conduit, Pyromancer, Toxicologist, Stoneshaper, and Tempest) and receives an elemental gauntlet as their primary weapon. Each “class” has its own element (which you can probably figure out by their names) and their own style of play.
Things get really interesting, however, when you pick up your second gauntlet, and start mixing magical abilities together. For example, I love playing as the Pyromancer (fire), and lobbing fireballs and giant flaming walls all over the map. But it wasn’t until I accidentally lobbed a fireball into a Tempest (wind) teammate’s tornado attack – inadvertently creating a goddamn FLAMING TORNADO – that I realized that this might just be the coolest Battle Royale I’ve ever played.
Players can wield two gauntlets at once, and are encouraged to mix and match them as much as possible to find combinations that fit their playstyle. Another great combination is Toxicologist (poison) and Fire, because what could be more lethal than a poison cloud… Except a poison cloud that’s also on fire?
…And You Can, Too!
At first glance, Spellbreak might turn veteran BR fans off simply for the fact that there are no guns in the game. But once you get a hang of each power, you’ll be able to quickly liken each ability to a gun-like firing arc or cadence (the Conduit’s ability, for example, rapidly fires lightning bolts like an automatic rifle).
For me, someone who could never quite get the hang of BRs or just never got hooked on game where your opponents could turn into skyscrapers before you kill them, Spellbreak is a perfect fit. The theme is right up my alley, and the first time I was deadlocked with another squad in a massive firefight (or ice, lightning, and firefight…), I knew I was hooked. The chaotic combat might not be what everyone is looking for, since you will need a good amount of luck as well as aiming skill, but for me – Spellbreak is an absolute blast.
There’s also some really nice quality-of-life features in the game, making Spellbreak very accessible to any level of BR player. For example – while other games will clearly mark which items are better than others, Spellbreak won’t even let you pick up something that is worse than that you already have equipped. In a fast-paced BR game, this is incredibly helpful so you can quickly loot, run, and get back into the battle.
The icing on the magical cake here is that Spellbreak, at launch, supports cross-progression, cross-play, and cross-party features. Downloading and linking my Spellbreak accounts on my Xbox and Switch were super easy, and refreshingly straightforward.
All in all – whether you’re a fan of traditional Battle Royales and just need a breath of fresh air, you’re a fantasy fan who’s never been into the genre, or anywhere in between – you should give Spellbreak a try. It’s a fun, unique take on the genre that is absolutely deserving of your time.
Spellbreak is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via the Epic Games store.
When not delivering some of the most electrifying introductions in podcast history, you can find him drinking outdoors at a brewery with his dog, Miller.