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Spellbreak Attempts to Bring a Magical Twist to the Battle Royale Genre

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Spellbreak

I’ve never been interested in the battle royale genre. Maybe it’s because I’m not part of the right crowd, or maybe it’s because I’m not a naturally competitive person. That being said, Spellbreak did manage to pique my interest enough to keep me playing for at least a handful of rounds. Unlike other battle royale games that focus on the component of finding better, rarer weapons, Spellbreak aims to create more of a unique experience.

While gear is definitely a component of Spellbreak, spell combinations leave things fresh and exciting. Different combinations create different effects, which can lead to some interesting moments of gameplay between players. For example, using a fireball with a toxic cloud will result in an explosion, making placement crucial when engaging multiple players at a time. And while these combinations are great and add depth, sticking to one type of spell that manages to work out is just as fine and useful. I personally really enjoyed using the branch of ice spells that the game had to offer.

This unique branch allowed for better maneuverability when I wasn’t able to acquire a good set of boots for the stat increase to my speed. Additionally, with buildup over time, I was able to freeze other players with my special attack and the ice arrows I had at my disposal. It added an extra layer of strategy to gameplay that I wasn’t quite expecting.

Combat abilities are locked to gauntlets. Players can choose one at the start of the match and pick up a second gauntlet throughout the match. This is where the aforementioned spell combinations can come into play. Acquiring these can mean defeating other players or simply finding them through chests on the map.

This is the same for gear and miscellaneous items as well. Spellbreak has three types of gear you can equip: a body piece, accessory, and boots. They’re all the same except for incremental stat increases with each rarity. Runes grant players different abilities like teleportation and flight, and players can also grab health potions and shields of different rarities and capacities.

However, Spellbreak does fall into the same tedium as other battle royales. Every instance is fairly the same with players racing into the safe zones to stay alive as the map shrinks, picking each other off on the way. The variety only goes as far as the play styles of the players participating in the match. There were some instances where I barely saw anyone until I had managed to squeeze my way into the top five, only grabbing a kill or two throughout the entire session. When I did see players through cross-platform play, my game would begin to lag.

And I cannot stress how bad this lag was. Frames would constantly drop and sometimes the lag would result in the inability to pick up items, which is a huge issue. Items can mean the difference between life and death, especially Epic Runes which grant players the ability to teleport or fly into or away from combat. This happened almost every match. I would defeat a player and be unable to pick up their rare or epic equipment and gauntlets until the game eventually stabilized.

In all earnesty, I think Spellbreak is a fairly fun twist on the battle royale genre. It has a charming visual identity and an interesting system that sets itself apart from more popular battle royale games. However, lag holds the game back from what could otherwise be a fun experience. Either way, if you’re looking to get into a new battle royale game, Spellbreak might be for you, but it may not hold your attention for long if you’re already feeling genre fatigue.

Spellbreak is free to play on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Kazuma Hashimoto
Translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs.