Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: MultiVersus Held Back by Its Free-to-Play Model

Ever since Super Smash Bros burst onto the scene, many developers tried to replicate its unique charm. The concept of characters from various franchises coming together for epic brawls is simply too fun to ignore. Everyone enjoys the novelty of seeing their favorite characters, who otherwise exist in separate universes, duking it out in frenetic, action-packed battles. The good news is that Player First Games actually delivers on that novelty with MultiVersus, but at the same time other elements hold the game back.

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MultiVersus brings together beloved characters from Warner Bros’ vast library, including superheroes, cartoon icons, and even movie legends. The prospect of Batman fighting Shaggy or Arya Stark facing off against Bugs Bunny is undeniably fun and taps into the same cross-over magic that made Smash Bros a household name. However, while MultiVersus nails the excitement and novelty of a crossover brawler, it’s a shame that the free-to-play model severely undermines the actual gameplay. The monetization strategy is pervasive and creates a barrier for many players who can’t or won’t dish out big money.

multiversus jake harley bats arya
Image via Player First Games

Keep in mind going forward that I reviewed this game as a completely free-to-play experience. I did not pay for anything in game, nor was I provided me with any additional content. I started from the bottom like everyone else, and I write this review from that perspective.

MultiVersus offers players a genuinely enjoyable gaming experience. The combat system, simplified and heavily influenced by Super Smash Bros, is easy for newcomers to pick up while still providing depth for seasoned players. The online experience is also excellent. It is smooth and reliable, featuring minimal lag and quick matchmaking. Each character in MultiVersus feels unique, with detailed move sets and costumes that reflect their histories and lore. This attention to detail adds a layer of charm and authenticity, making the battles more enjoyable. The well-executed character designs and vibrant, engaging stages reflect the unique styles of their respective universes.

multiversus screenshot of Velma, Batman, and Shaggy
Image via Player First Games

Unfortunately, the positives end there. You begin the game with only one character unlocked: Shaggy. While there is a rotation of weekly “guest characters” available for play, this initial limitation is baffling. A more generous starting roster would allow players to explore the diverse lineup that should be the game’s main attraction. Instead, players may lose interest immediately if the guest characters don’t appeal to them.

Most additional characters cost $10 each, amounting to over $200 for the full roster. In comparison, you can just buy Super Smash Bros Ultimate for $60, which includes over 70 characters in the base game. Even among peers, MultiVersus is just very expensive regarding its characters. A $40 or $50 character pass, akin to the one implemented in Killer Instinct, would have made for a more player-friendly approach. That model allows access to all characters for a one-time fee, offering a better value and opportunity to let players actually play the game.

To be fair, you can unlock characters through fighter credits earned in-game. However, this process is excruciatingly slow even by free-to-play standards. The grind required to unlock just one character can take days, meaning unlocking the full roster would take months of consistent play. This system feels especially restrictive considering that a fighting game roster can make or break the experience.

Screenshot by Siliconera

Earning rewards and currency in MultiVersus adds to the frustration of the game. Players gain nothing from online fights, which seems counterintuitive for a game that focuses on online multiplayer. Instead, players must complete PvE events or specific challenges to earn rewards. Although many of these challenges are, or can be, completed in PvP fights online, the fights themselves don’t provide actual bonuses. Once players complete their daily missions, they have little incentive to keep playing, especially if they don’t have access to their favorite characters.

MultiVersus often presents players with impossible tasks as part of these challenges. For instance, you might need to play a match with a specific character or character type. If that character isn’t available in the weekly rotation and you haven’t purchased them, you miss out on those rewards. Given the limited number of daily and weekly quests, this can be a significant hurdle.

Screenshot by Siliconera

The game is so stingy with XP and rewards that completing the BattlePass could be unachievable for some players, even if they play nearly every day. Player First Games and WB Games need to address this issue. They should provide rewards for fights and offer an easier way to add characters to the roster. Without these changes, I think players are unlikely to stick around for long.

Local multiplayer in MultiVersus is another disappointment. It is available only in an offline versus mode.. There are no local multiplayers options for events or online matches. This limitation feels like a missed opportunity, especially for a game that could thrive as a couch or party game.

Image via Player First Games

MultiVersus could have been a fun multi-platform answer to Super Smash Bros, but the choice to adopt a free-to-play model with staggering costs for characters locks much of the fun behind paywalls or extensive grinding. While it succeeds in delivering whimsical, cross-franchise battles that players love, the free-to-play model makes it all feel worthless. This mishandling results in a game that I feel, despite its potential, won’t retain players once they realize the hassle.

MultiVersus is currently free-to-play on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.


A free-to-play crossover brawler featuring all your favorite WB characters from Looney Tunes to the Justice League. PS5 version reviewed.

MultiVersus could have been a multi-platform answer to Super Smash Bros. However, the staggering cost of characters locks much of the fun behind paywalls or extensive grinding which will turn most players off.

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Cory Dinkel
Cory Dinkel is a freelance writer for Siliconera since 2023. An award-winning digital journalist, he has worked for local and national news outlets for nearly a decade. His favorite genre is the JRPG and he will not be taking questions during his "There is Not a Love Triangle in Final Fantasy VII" speech.