Ever since the inception of H1Z1: King of the Kill, gaming has been obsessed with Battle Royale games. Spurred by the hugely popular Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, the genre has become a cultural phenomenon. Battle Royale games of varying levels of depth and polish litter the gaming landscape. In the sea of clones any game in the genre needs to stand out with some unique twist. Without one, it is doomed to be overlooked. BattlePalooza aims to stand out by having the absolute worst name in the genre and introducing class-based combat elements.
A Class of Its Own
Name aside, BattlePalooza is mechanically solid. Class-based combat is the name of the game. Each character offers unique stats and an ability that aids players in attaining victory. These abilities offer fun diversity and include temporary invisibility, a large shield, increased movement speed, and more. These abilities are relatively balanced. Most of my success coming from the teddy bear and its shield ability.
In addition to class-based abilities, players have the option of three other abilities. These are customizable and include explosives, traps, and shields. None of these abilities feel too overpowered and the variety nicely diversifies gameplay. All abilities can be upgraded with power gems, a type of in-game currency. These can only be found in loot boxes or bought with gold when they are on sale. The sales change every day so you could be waiting a while to upgrade your preferred loadout. This may be a way to encourage players to change up their playstyle and not “main” a single character or loadout. However, locking upgrades behind a paywall in a multiplayer-only game moves BattlePalooza into pay-to-win territory. These are further locked behind random lootbox drops, encouraging players to gamble for new gear.
BattlePalooza’s art style is heavily inspired by Fortnite. All the characters look like they could’ve been beta models for already existing characters. That said, the style is executed well enough. The available character skins also add some uniqueness.
Not Quite a Jackpot
BattlePalooza differentiates itself by framing the Battle Royale as a virtual gameshow, reminiscent of Monday Night Combat. Instead of the typical frantic search for gear once players spawn, you start with all gear and weapons equipped. Players then roam the map avoiding the danger area and stopping at terminals that give free XP and healing items. XP allows players to level up their gear and weapons to become stronger for the end game.
Battles can have up to 24 players facing off at once. Despite this being a new and lesser known game, I never experienced any issues finding other players. While games didn’t always fill completely, typically there were at least 10 players in a lobby. This number worked fine, as it made for a more chaotic finish.
The battles take place in a virtual Las Vegas and allows players to visit certain areas around Vegas for rewards. While the concept is fascinating, the execution is flawed. These “iconic” places end up being Dunkin’ or “ATM.” Additionally, the in-game map looks nothing like the Vegas strip, opting instead for a generic cityscape.
BattlePalooza has issues. But it still manages to pull together to become greater than the sum of its parts. It could use more polish and its monetization practices need tweaking, but its core gameplay loop is fun. The potential of its premise is staggering. The Battle Royale genre would be perfect for duking it out in iconic cities across the globe. If it can capitalize on this dynamic and expand its premise, it could secure a foothold in the market. Only time will tell if BattlePalooza will be able to fully realize its potential and secure victory.
Is it Hardcore?
BattlePalooza is an interesting spin on the Battle Royale genre. Real-world locations serve as the backdrop for fun, class-based battle royale combat. However, generic visuals, bad monetization, and an overall lack of polish hold it back from greatness.