Complex game mechanics certainly have their appeal, but there’s just no substitute for the simple pleasure afforded by flinging fireballs from your fingertips. OmniConnection’s new wizard-based, MOBA-inspired multiplayer FPS, Grimoire, will allow you to do that and more. Currently in Kickstarter and submitted to Steam Greenlight, the game is in a pre-Alpha-single-player-sort-of-Alpha-multiplayer state, and is already remarkably fun to play.
The setup is fairly straightforward: choose between ten different wizard classes, build your own spell list based on your chosen class’ strengths, and then duke it out with monsters and other players in the game’s medieval European world. OmniConnection reports that Grimoire will release with three game modes (with an eventual total of seven planned): territory-control Conquest, 3v3 - 5v5 Arenas, and co-op Safeguard. The version that I played for this preview, however, was a very early single-player combat build.
Whereas the game’s character models and user interface don’t make the strongest first impression at this point, Grimoire’s environments and gameplay are sure to raise some eyebrows as they become more refined. The third-person model of the wizard(s) I played and the skeletons I fought were, in a word, ordinary, and the spellbook UI looked pretty rudimentary. I’m told that these are placeholder graphics, and very much look forward to what OmniConnection will do with the proper funding. I’m happy to say, however, that the shadowy medieval village that was the stage for our preview was in much better graphical shape.
Five Wizard classes - Earth, Lightning, Ice, Fire, and Nature - were available in this build, and I tried each of them to get a feel for the game’s diversity of gameplay options. It turns out that there’s already a lot of variety on offer, as each class will give you four spells from which to choose, and allows you to pick one Mobility spell and one Utility spell to complete your build. The directive for the combat scenario was to protect a location from encroaching undead, and boy, did I enjoy not paying any attention to the objective as per usual. I spent most of my time figuring out the strengths of each class, and reveling in gratuitous use of the teleportation Mobility spell.
The wizard classes are decidedly different, each bringing one or two aspects of magery mayhem to the table. Earth will allow you to do a lot of direct damage and summon a giant golem, while Lightning allows you to play out your Sith Inquisitor (see SWTOR) fantasies. Ice combines damage with the ability to slow your enemies, Fire allows you to fling fireballs and rain meteors, and Nature gives you some (admittedly OP right now) well-needed heals. Each class seems to be able to stand on its own, but I can see the potential for some MOBA-style synergies, depending on how the intended game modes are set up. Additionally, there’s a fair amount of variety in the Mobility and Utility skills available, which I think will only increase over time.
Grimoire has a way to go before becoming a strong contender in the already saturated MOBA and FPS genres, but even at this point has a great amount of potential. The design concept is certainly unique, reminding me just slightly of Magicka in cheekiness if not implementation, and the core gameplay experience is solid. I’m looking forward to seeing what OmniConnection can do with a little more time and the right amount of funding with this one.