MultiVersus is a free-to-play platform brawler/fighter that brings together a gaggle of characters from the Warner Bros. universe in bouncing and jumping battles. If you’ve ever played Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., you’ll have a pretty good idea of how it all works—in this case offering one-on-one, 2v2 and four-player free-for-all matches to battle your way through.
There’s no story here per se. The game simply introduces its concept with a short cinematic that paints a picture of what it would be like for the various characters to be plucked out of whatever universe they’re normally a part of and plunked down for head-to-head tussles. The character list isn’t huge at this point, but growing (the online game has gained a few characters since its original launch in July 2022.)
At this point the stable of battlers range from animated heroes such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to cartoony favs such as Bugs Bunny, Shaggy and Velma (of Scooby Doo fame) Tom and Jerry and the Iron Giant. Even Arya Stark from Game of Thrones and LeBron James from Space Jam: A New Legacy somehow made the creative cut. (In the beginning you don’t have access to the full stable of characters, though. More on that below.)
The characters themselves are fun and well defined—with fighting move sets that are directly tied to who they are. Shaggy, for instance, may pull out a sandwich for a projectile strike, and Superman has icy cold breath. And Tom and Jerry, consumed with fighting each other, tend to hit their foes with almost accidental crossfire. All the characters have special skills, weapons and actions—and every fighter on the roster has moves that negatively affect opponents while simultaneously helping their teammates.
MultiVersus sticks to the basics of the platform-brawler genre. An important element is a damage gauge that each character sports. As their hits-taken number grows, that results in further knockbacks when attacked. Fighters all get four directional attacks—up, down, side and neutral—and four directional specials. And those eight moves can be combined with aerial strikes. Players only have dodges and jumps to help them avoid damage.
As mentioned, this is an online only, free-to-play game, and as such it earns its makers money through in-game purchases. One of those areas is, potentially, the fighter roster itself. The majority of the game’s fighters are not available when players first jump in. The game offers a rotating list of four trial characters, but the bulk of the fighters must be unlocked. You can earn these fighters with rewards from victories and with “Gleamium,” premium currency that’s purchased with real-world money.
For parents who don’t mind the frenetic fighting, MultiVersus is a colorful and fun offering. The Warner Bros. character list is appealing and varied with lots of fanservice nods and recognizable character voices.
Teamwork is emphasized here. Characters have specific abilities that can buff their battling partners and save them from being beaten. Wonder Woman, for example, can lasso teammates to keep them from falling or help them heal up when injured.
The gameplay is fast and filled with battle choices that must be mastered. But it’s not confusing. And matches are always kept fairly short—though how short depends on the individual player’s button-mashing skills.
Some characters battle with bats, swords, hammers and thrown objects, such as batarangs. (But the thumping fantasy action isn’t bloody or wince-worthy.) There can be some bits of rough language in the character exclamations, uses of words such as “d–n,” “h—” and “b–chin.’” But those character-specific utterances can be eliminated with an in-game language filter.
The monetary system at play in the game can, frankly, be a bit irritating. The game locks away the majority of characters, cosmetics, costume variations, premium battle passes and special character-focused announcer packs, for instance. And to get them, you either have to grind slowly through matches with trial characters—taking scores of hours to earn enough for a character you might desire—or pay real cash for the privilege.
Players and their parents may feel that negates some of the game’s other plusses.
MultiVersus has a lot of fun battles to enjoy if you’re a platform fighter fan. But the in-game monetization might be the biggest gut punch.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.