My Hero Ultra Rumble

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Byking


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Switch/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'My Hero Ultra Rumble'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 22, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

My Hero Ultra Rumble is a free-to-play online multiplayer Battle Royale game based on the popular anime series.

The battle royale genre is here to stay, with Apex Legends, Fortnite and PUBG Battlegrounds remaining very popular. Tetris 99 has proven the genre can work on puzzle games, Fall Guys shows that it can work for 3D platformers, and Super Mario 35 can show that even classic 2D platformers can make it work. Thanks to the likes of Naraka: Bladepoint and Rumbleverse, the genre is being adapted to 3D fighting games, and the latest one to try its hand at this is My Hero Ultra Rumble.

Based on the anime "My Hero Academia," the game pits 24 players in a single match, split into teams of three for eight total teams per match. Compared to Rumbleverse with 40 players per match and Naraka: Bladepoint topping out at 60, the count here feels low, especially since the game takes on the Apex Legends approach of letting you choose actual characters versus customizable avatars. It means that the quirk-based attacks you perform fall in line with what you see in the anime and manga, so it has that going for it. Characters are given class designations, which almost suggests that you have teams with complementary abilities; you also can't have two of the same character on your team.

For the most part, My Hero Ultra Rumble has the same trappings as most battle royale titles. You pick a spot to land, you pick up potions to refill your health and shields, and you have to be part of the last team standing by eliminating everyone else. You also have to avoid the poisonous influence that makes your play area smaller and smaller as time goes by. The main difference is that you don't pick up weapons from the field. Everyone comes equipped with their own melee attack, and everyone has their three quirk-based attacks, which all have a limited amount of uses. The meter governing how often attacks can be used can be refilled over time.

You have other items at your disposal during a fight. Opening chests or defeating enemies reveals cards that can be used to level up your quirks. You may get lucky and find your specific character card corresponding to your specific quirk to level that up immediately, but you'll more likely find generic leveling cards that need to be manually applied to your chosen quirk. You'll also find cards for other fighters that you can use for different abilities, such as creating a large healing dome for your team. Only two of those can be attached at any one time, but they are consumable, so you will burn through quite a few of them if you use those cards often.

Currently, parts of the combat system work well. The ability to scale vertical surfaces is nice, as is the lack of fall damage from great heights. The small size of the map means that getting into fights is quick, so players spend much less time on running and hiding. The damage output from attacks feels good, even if it means some pretty quick deaths, and the leveling up of your profile feels fast; earning rewards and completing challenges feels rather breezy.

At the same time, there are parts of the system that need some more work. The lack of a lock-on system means there's a good chance you'll swing at air instead of at a person. The camera sometimes doesn't make enemies visible to you, so you may have to swing wildly in the hopes that your opponent is close by. The difference between tapping on a direction on the d-pad and holding it down is so slight that using a potion means you might pull up the menu to change the potion type instead. Leveling up your quirks or equipping other powers requires going into a menu; it's awkward for a genre that emphasizes being aware of your environment and reacting quickly to perceived dangers. Considering how quickly matches can end, you get the sense that the only way to level up is to get lucky and find everything you need at the beginning.

This was a closed beta period, so we don't know how this free-to-play game will support itself in terms of real-world money to in-game currency conversion rates. What we do know is that the game comes with at least five currency types, two of which are hidden from view, and all of them can be converted into one another. Gold coins can be used in the shop to buy new costumes, voice samples, and emotes. Red ticket pieces and souls are only used for conversion to other currencies; the former is gained via quests, and the latter is gained when you obtain repeats of other cosmetics. Red and Silver tickets get loot boxes, a curious choice that moves into a mechanic that some of the major games in the field are moving away from.

Those loot boxes come with an over-the-top introduction sequence but feature new costumes, costume colorways, voice samples and emotes, all of which are different from what you'd get from the store. One annoyance is that each sequence of spending or converting any of the currency comes with short load times, which makes the whole process tedious to perform countless times.

At the moment, My Hero Ultra Rumble has potential. The recognizable characters are enough to draw in people, while the short nature of the battles is enough to eke out more than a few fights in the same time as one battle royale match in other games. The fighting system is decent enough, but the numerous load screens, constant menu manipulation, and obfuscation of the various currencies need additional development before the game is ready for prime time. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on the title's progress.

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