Most game publishers have moved beyond their desire to chase after the enormous amount of money that Riot Games is making with League of Legends and Valve is minting with Dota 2. But while few companies are attempting to release new multiplayer online arena battlers (MOBAs), some of their most recognizable elements are carrying over into fresh and interesting games.
Atlas Reactor is a new strategy game that pits teams of four against one another in live, turn-based combat. Unlike some other online turn-based games, however, these matches do not take hours. Publisher Trion Worlds, which is responsible for online hits like Rift, ArcheAge, and Trove, devised a system where all eight players take their turns simultaneously, and then the actions play out in order depending on your characters stats and abilities. The PVP strategy brawler is out now for $30 — although you can demo it with a free mode that includes some of the heroes but doesn’t permit access to the ranked modes.
It’s easy to look at Atlas Reactor and see a million other games, but Trion has built something original. At the same time, the easiest way to describe the action is to reference other games like XCOM, Overwatch, and League of Legends.
The moment-to-moment action is like an online version of the 2K turn-based strategy adventure XCOM. Instead leading an entire team against computer-controlled opponents, you play as a single hero. Other players then control the rest of your squad as well as the enemy forces.
These heroes, meanwhile, should feel familiar to anyone who has experienced a MOBA. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, and you need to learn them all in order to understand how to attack any possible situation.
Finally, it stands away from MOBAs by leaning more toward the premium-priced business model. Like in Overwatch, Trion Worlds wants Atlas Reactor players to have access to all of the characters now and forever. In League of Legends, you have to purchase characters one at a time, and this means most people are limited to a small pool of heroes at any one time. That makes it difficult to learn the nuances of each class.
If you’re still having difficulty imagining Atlas Reactor in action, you can give yourself a break and see it for yourself. Just click play in the video below to watch us play: