Fans of both real-time strategy and MOBA games may want to take notice of a new kid on the block: Bandai Namco and Primal Game Studio are entering the realm of MOBAs, with their new free-to-play title Supernova. Namco is already heavily active in the competitive fighting game scene, and Supernova is their first dash into an alternate genre that is highly popular in e-sports. That’s right, guys: yet another free-to-play MOBA title for you to dive head first into. If you’ve been looking for an intricate MOBA experience with a steep learning curve, then you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
Supernova is at first glance a 5v5 MOBA title, but with RTS elements ingrained within its core gameplay. The traditional lane meta-game that you’ve come to enjoy from titles like Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, and D.O.T.A. are all present, but with the “minions” (or “armies” as they’re called in this game) being far more manageable in a style similar to that of the StarCraft series. If you’re into micro-management intensive games that require ample mouse-clicking and constant map roaming, Supernova may be right up your alley.
Primal Game Studio has been in the kitchen cooking up Supernova for three years, and are hoping to build the next big viable MOBA on the e-sports scene. There aren’t many MOBA titles that take place in bona fide sci-fi settings, where science and technology are the anchors of the game’s lore, as oppose to magic. Supernova, for as imaginative as it is, is one of the more grounded and realistic MOBA experiences that does this successfully. It’s also worth noting that the RTS elements of the game reminded me Halo Wars, which was a sleeper title that was an above average RTS for the Xbox 360.
Primal Game Studio had 12 characters–or commanders as they’re referred to in this game–that were selectable off the bat. As with any MOBA, you can expect this roster to expand as time goes on, each coming with their own set of unique skins. There are two factions at war in Supernova: the humans and cyborgs. Outside of aesthetics, no word was given on what advantages or disadvantages come with each faction.
Given that this game takes place in a sci-fi setting, a fair amount of the commanders were donning mech-suits, and for this reason were stacked with a heap of ranged attacks. This came to be a cause of concern for the melee characters that I played as–it took a little bit of practice before I became efficient with the melee characters, who seemed to be far too squishy to compete with the ranged characters. I imagine that Primal Games will be working on the balancing for this game quite a bit leading up to it’s beta phase, so hopefully that take to buffing the melee characters accordingly.
I’m not sure how well Supernova will hold up in the competitive scene– it’s a complex experience that may be tough for spectators to understand without a little bit of bookwork or a lot of experience. However, there’s no doubt that die-hard MOBA and RTS fans alike will find something about the game that hits close to home, and thus put in the time to learn the ins-and-outs of the .
If you want to get down in the Supernova alpha, jet on over to their sign up page and get in on the action. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Supernova throughout its journey to full retail.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I got my hands on Supernova at a private press event that took place Tuesday, November 24 in San Francisco. At this event, we were introduced to the title by Primal Game Studio and invited to participate in a live play session. We were provided with pre-loaded laptops by Bandai Namco, to play the game, and then granted access to them take off-site and continue our coverage.