Spellbreak is a fantasy battle royale that challenges you to duke it out with 41 other mages using powerful spells. The combat is fast, chaotic, and absolutely epic. Don’t worry, Spellbreak will ease you into it. When you first open the game, you’ll begin in the informative tutorial. It’ll systematically take you through the basic mechanics you need to know to play the game and then leave you in a practice area where you can experiment with the various Gauntlets and Runes. It’s a very pleasant onboarding experience.
After that brief introduction, it’s drop time. You pick a portal and descend towards your chosen area of the Hollow Lands. The portal system allows players to spread around the map, which gives you plenty of time to gather loot before you need to engage an enemy. That’s not to say you can’t hot drop. Some areas have higher concentrations of portals, so you can drop with foes all around you if you like.
At first, the gameplay is chaotic and overwhelming. There are people flying around (sometimes literally), spells shooting in every direction, and you’re just trying to survive. However, everything in Spellbreak is intuitive, and you quickly come to grips with the various spells, fast-paced movement, and managing your mana.
It only took me a couple of games to get the hang of things and then I just felt sheer excitement and exhilaration every time I saw an enemy player. I honestly can’t believe that a combat system this fun is free. You feel like a superhero or powerful anime character as you soar over mountains or bound up broken castle towers while throwing potent spells at your enemies. The terrain and building design suit the gameplay incredibly well. I felt like I was playing inside the Naruto anime.
Pick your power
The different elemental classes and Gauntlets you choose in Spellbreak will determine your playstyle for a match. Proletariat has done an excellent job making each one feel unique. There are six classes to choose between, which means six different ways to play.
You can sit back and snipe with an ice bow while skating along frozen trails. You can soar through the skies and lash enemies with the wind Gauntlet. If you want to get up close and personal, you can use the stealth and shotgun-like attacks of the Toxicologist or the ground-pounding tanky Stoneshaper. There’s also a lighting bolt shooting Gauntlet and of course, the fireball launching option.
The classes and Gauntlets are superbly implemented in Spellbreak. I instantly took a liking to the Tempest, which uses the wind Gauntlet. But I forced myself to try all the classes and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the shotgun toxic Gauntlet. Getting in the face of enemy players and hunting them down with slowing toxic attacks was incredibly entertaining. All the classes were fun in their own way. Aiming that ice bow is tough though.
Much like Captain Planet, you can combine powers in Spellbreak. You can shock players skating on ice tracks, ignite toxic puddles, cause your stone attacks to catch alight, and so much more. There are also counters, like wind putting out fire and stone blocking ice. This adds another layer of depth to engagements and gameplay. Good players can take advantage of elemental combos to obliterate their opponents. New players will probably blow themselves up a few times. I did, more than once.
Build your breaker
Your build is made up of the class you choose, as well as the Talents you pick before you drop into the Hollow Lands. Once you’re in a game, you complete your build with a second Gauntlet and a Rune. The choices you make before and during a game have a big impact on the way you play.
I found the on-the-fly decision making of completing your build to be very rewarding. It also means that every game feels different, even if you’re playing the same class. Once you’ve got some good Runes and better gear, you’ll begin to feel like you can do anything. One thing you almost certainly won’t be able to do at first is manage your mana. I was always falling out of the sky and clicking away with no spells shooting out.
I do think Spellbreak would really benefit from some more variety in the Runes and balancing of the Talents. Most of the Runes are movement related. Proletariat should consider adding some that have completely different effects. For instance, a Rune that allows you to deal 100% increased damage, but in return makes you take 100% more damage could be interesting. Just something to add even more variety. Battle Royales inevitably become repetitive, so the more you can mix it up, the better.
As for the Talents, I think a few stand out as a lot more viable and powerful than the majority. Balancing these and adding some more options would go a long way towards maintaining the longevity of the game.
Almost at full power
My biggest criticism of Spellbreak in its current state is a lack of depth. That’s not to say there isn’t depth in the combat system, because it will take you a long time to truly master. Where the game needs more is in its build customization, map variety, and progression system.
The map would benefit from some more dynamic events. Currently, the only thing to cause players to congregate before the final circles are the Mana Vaults. These do a good job of luring players to a location, and I thoroughly enjoyed ambushing unsuspecting looters. However, the world is full of magic and the map could benefit from a touch of it.
Something like random storms or areas that suddenly lose gravity would be interesting. These kinds of events would force players to adapt their strategies and playstyles as they occur and make for even more engaging gameplay.
The last thing I think Spellbreak needs is a more robust rewards system. You can unlock some cool stuff for the various classes, but the Mage Rank rewards are mostly just gold with some badges. If you just want good gameplay, then this is irrelevant to you anyway.
Spellbreak is the most enjoyable battle royale I’ve ever played and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a game all year. It delivers exactly what you want from a largescale mage battle – fast-paced movement, epic spells, and flying. Plus, it’s free to play. I highly recommend you drop into the Hollow Lands and try your hand at some spell-slinging action. Make sure you experiment with all the Gauntlets, because they change the way you play dramatically.
None of my criticisms about Spellbreak take away from how good this game is. I enjoy it so much that I want nothing more than for it to be a smash hit. With a bit more depth, I think Spellbreak could be Epic Games’ next Fortnite. If Proletariat balances the Talents, adds some more unique Runes, and creates more dynamic events on the map it will feel complete. Then it could begin to explore the lore, add new Gauntlets, and all of the other exciting things to keep players engaged for years to come.