Spellbreak Review (PC)

There’s no doubt that the battle royale genre is getting a little stale. We’ve seen massive games like Fortnite and Warzone transform the gaming landscape forever. Free-to-play never looked so good. However, the number of developers who tried to clone their formula and failed to bring anything new to the table is seemingly endless. 

One new title stands out from the pack, though, and its name is Spellbreak. Proletariat’s magic-based battle royale game brings so many new elements to the table that it’s impossible to ignore.

Forget about assault rifles and firearms because this game trades them all in for magic gauntlets and wizardry. Set in a fantasy world known as Hollow Lands, players can battle it out solo or with friends in this free-to-play spellcasting battle royale.  

Gauntlets and Elements

Spellbreak is all about gauntlets, which infuse your character with a particular element. Each player can have two gauntlets, one of which you choose before starting your game. Your starting gauntlet determines your class, so if you pick Wind, you’re a Tempest, and you get relevant talents as you level up in the match. As for your other gauntlet, you’ll pick that up from the loot pool during the game. By twisting together two different elements, you can create some destructive interactions. For example, Tempests can cast a Tornado, which turns into a Flamenado when it interacts with fire.

The spell combo system is hugely complex, and we can’t even begin to cover it all in this review. We will say that it’s incredibly satisfying to land the right combination of elements and pump out those damage numbers. It’s also impressive how much work went into the system and how balanced it feels already. There is massive potential here, and we are confident Proletariat will continue to develop it.

Gameplay

Playing a third-person battle royale like Spellbreak takes some adjusting if you’re coming from a game like Warzone or Apex Legends. The tutorial does a great job of breaking down the basics and explaining everything you need to know, though. 

Considering the smaller total player size per match, you have a lot more freedom to roam around without the worry of running into a camper. The large open maps are by design. It makes a lot of sense, considering the combination of mobility, runes, and perks. In addition to gauntlets, everyone gets to pick a rune, which is a lootable skill. They can do various things like give you a burst jump or turn you invisible for a short time.

In addition to runes, you have three open slots for gear. You can pick up a pair of boots to move faster, an amulet for more mana, and a belt for shields. Every item you can equip, including your gauntlets, comes in a range of rarities, with Legendary being the highest tier. You can also find scrolls on the ground, which level up one of the three talents you pick before the game starts. 

For consumables, you have mana potions and shield potions. Each of these comes in a small and large variant. Smalls heal for 20, larges for 60, and you can store eight of them in stacks of two in your four slots. Looting is probably the least enjoyable part of any battle royale for many people. At least in Spellbreak, you still stand a chance if you encounter someone decked out in legendaries.

As far as controls go, the Spellbreak key binds feel natural from a PC perspective. Movement is fluid, and the gameplay feels very polished. The game is noticeably optimized, as there is little to no choppiness or lag. Overall, it’s a pleasant experience, and there are no complaints on that front.

Spellbreak Game Modes

First, there’s the 60-player traditional battle royale mode. It follows the same formula all BR players are familiar with, where you drop in and wait for the circle. What’s refreshing, though, is that you pick your primary gauntlet (element) and talents before the game begins. That means you’re not dropping in naked, scrambling for loot. The looting aspect still exists, but you can have some epic battles right off the rip with your base gear. 

The second mode is Clash, and it’s a 9v9 deathmatch with three squads of three per team. This mode is what you want to play if you’re craving constant action. You drop in, and the circle immediately shrinks, leaving a small area for eighteen players to battle it out. If you die, it’s okay because you’ll respawn in a few seconds. It’s the most fun we’ve had in a battle royale game in a while, and we’re looking forward to seeing more innovative new modes like this in the future.

The one thing many people complain about, and we’ve experienced as well, is matchmaking issues. We’re not sure if it’s a player base issue, but finding matches can be iffy. If you go in with a pre-made squad, it’s usually not a problem. However, if you’re trying to fill with randoms, you might find yourself all alone at the start of the match. 

Maps and Skins

There is currently only one map in Spellbreak, and it can get old if you play the game a lot. The area is large enough that it’s going to take you a few hundred hours to know like the back of your hand. You might find yourself roaming around looking for someone for half the game, though. That’s our one primary complaint about Spellbreak. The existing map could warrant doubling the lobby size, but we’re unsure if the player base can support it.

In terms of skins, there is no shortage of them. As with all free-to-play games, they make their money selling cosmetics. It’s all good, though, because none of them affect the gameplay and a lot of them look fantastic. 

Conclusion

Spellbreak is a refreshing new battle royale in a genre that’s been getting stale. The game revolves around elemental gauntlets and a complex spell combo system that’s easy to understand yet difficult to master. Proletariat did an excellent job polishing the game, and it feels great to play. Spellbreak easily has the potential to become one of the top battle royale games of 2021.

Pros

  • Complex spell combo system
  • Refreshing take on battle royale
  • Polished gameplay
  • Great controls

Cons

  • Matchmaking can take a while
  • Lacks map variety

Score

8 / 10

"Great"