The latest free-to-play battle royale game hoping to make its way into everyone’s nightly gaming rotation has arrived. Rumbleverse is here to layeth the smackdown on our collective candy asses. From the team at Iron Galaxy, this open world battle royale has a twist… and an ankle lock, and a German suplex. You see Rumbleverse puts down the familiar arsenal of guns and grenades and swaps them for spandex.
In Grapital City (yes that is the actual name) players must face one another in the ultimate street fight. This is no Triple H v Shawn Michaels (Summerslam 2002), Rumbleverse is almost exactly like its stablemate Fortnite, but without the guns. Being published by Epic Games seems to have left its mark as you almost feel like Rumbleverse is a new mode within Fortnite; its looks and controls are very similar.
However, looks and controls are where the comparisons end for the new kid on the block, for there is a very different battle royale experience to be found within. Rumbleverse is the only battle royale game where everyone is on an even ground at the start. There is no worry over landing in an area only to find another person or team has grabbed the closest assault rifle ready to end your game prematurely.
In Rumbleverse you must use moves to defeat opponents, and I don’t mean that Michael Jackson moonwalk you do every Christmas when the family is over. No, I mean wrestling moves – grabs, punches, kicks and slams must be mastered to stand a chance of getting a victory here. It is really fun when everything clicks and you face off with a worthy opponent or leap across the city, avoiding the ever-closing circle when you master the dash jump.
Handily there is playground mode where players can jump in and learn the ropes, helping get used to the city layout. In this mode there are training areas where you can learn how to master trickier moves alongside a training robot – it is highly recommended. Once you get to grips with how Rumbleverse handles, it’s time to take the fight to the ring… or streets as the case may be.
Main modes outside of playground currently available are solos or duos. For new players, trying duos first may be a good option as you have someone to watch your back on the mean streets, and it will give you an extra pair of eyes in hope of avoiding an ambush.
You see, attacks can come from anywhere in Grapital City as buildings can be scaled and leapt across, giving a new vertical element to this battle royale. Keep your wits about you and keep an eye out for crates.
Crates are littered throughout the city and will be key to success in Rumbleverse. Inside the crates you will find items like potions or power ups, and also magazines. Potions are great for a quick recovery after a round or six with an enemy, power ups will boost a stat like strength or health to assist you in the fight.
Magazines should not be overlooked either and if you happen to find a magazine in a crate, use it. Each magazine provides new moves for your brawler; anything from new slams to special moves that will give you the edge in combat.
Now, we have to move onto the standard battle royale tropes within Rumbleverse. Yes it has a season pass, yes it has daily missions and yes it has customisation. All function very similarly once again to Fortnite. These options aren’t the problem, the issue is that while I have mentioned all the similarities to Fortnite, Rumbleverse (at launch) lacks one of the most appealing aspects from its older sibling – licensed characters.
Currently in Fortnite players can enjoy battling each other as the cast of Dragon Ball while playing quests based on the property as well. In the past we have seen Star Wars, John Wick, Rick and Morty, and many more crossovers that bring cross franchise fans together for a wild time.
Rumbleverse has the power of Epic in its corner, so a launch crossover not being present is a huge missed opportunity. Right before Dragon Ball was the hot customisation in Fortnite they had a certain John Cena as an unlockable for players. Having Cena or indeed any WWE or AEW characters for launch in a wrestling based battle royale seems like an absolute no-brainer. Hopefully down the line we see Fortnite’s power of licensed brands move into Rumbleverse as well.
Customisation is limited with generic looking wrestlers and gear available. Emotes are, as standard, present, but do not carry the weight of the licensed moves and music that you see elsewhere. There is a huge window of opportunity when it comes to licensing as the potential for greatness is here, I just hope Rumbleverse has the staying power to get to the stage of adding licensed items.
It may seem unfair to have all these comparisons to the arguable king of the battle royale genre, however, when the guys publishing the game are responsible for said title you would hope some of their most well received aspects would transfer over directly to this game.
Continuing the negatives and one major downside is found in the wait times. I’ve often queued for over ten minutes before loading into a match, however once loaded and in there has been noticeable lag; something which can be a problem for games of this nature at launch.
All in (pun fully intended AEW fans), Rumbleverse is a nice shake up to the battle royale formula. Learning to play an already familiar genre with its own twist is fun, and when it looks good and plays so well out the gate, you can’t really go wrong here.
Rumbleverse is definitely one to watch and here’s hoping Epic get on the phone with Stephanie McMahon and Tony Khan to get some epic crossover characters for the season pass. Maybe even a Wrestlemania themed battle pass would be possible down the line.
Grab Rumbleverse today and have some fun in Grapital City.
Rumbleverse is available over at the Xbox Store