The whimsical platform shooter Battlecore Arena goes into Early Access today. However, the game is not really new. We find out whether the mix of Rocket League and Smash Bros. is any good

The fear of falling is one of the most natural primal fears of mankind. You probably know this: If you fall down somewhere in a dream, you often wake up abruptly.In Battlecore Arena, however, falling is the aim of the game However, ideally it’s not you who falls, but your opponents

The game has been available in Early Access via Steam and Ubisoft Connect since today. We’ve already had a chance to play it and explain what Ubisoft’s new old platform shooter is all about

This is supposed to be new?

Wait a minute!, some of you will no doubt be saying.Battlecore Arena – hasn’t it been done before?And you’re absolutely right. The original version of Battlecore has already been around for a few years; it was released on Steam in 2017.

The core gameplay was basically the same: You could roll around with a fat ball, shoot at other balls and dodge your opponent’s shots with double jumps and other maneuvers in the eponymous arenas. But the title disappeared from the scene in 2022

In early 2024, it became clear that the indie developers from Studio Cosmic Ray had not given up on their project, but had brought a strong publisher on board in the form of Ubisoft. And instead of the three of them working on the game at home, the new edition is now being created at Ubisoft’s Bordeaux studio

Good transfer or a ball out of bounds?

The gameplay ofBattlecore Arenais extremely fast-paced and leaves little room to catch your breath – but in a positive sense. Because the shooter knows how to skillfully combine the strengths of two existing game concepts: the jumping action of Smash Bros. with the fast-paced football pitch gameplay of Rocket League.

In Battlecore Arena, instead of whizzing around the arena in cars and kicking a ball into the goal,you are the ball,only this time you are armed. With your cannons, you have to try to kick the opposing players out of the floating arena and into the outfield.

You have various weapons at your disposal: The normal cannon shoots faster, rockets hurl your opponents further back. You can also use a special ability to trigger an explosion that generates a lot of recoil

(The game principle of Battlecore is very simple: the opponent must be kicked out of the arena. If you touch the red barrier, you are out; one point for the opponents)
(The game principle of Battlecore is very simple: the opponent must be kicked out of the arena. If you touch the red barrier, you are out; one point for the opponents)

The apple falls… always to the ground

Gravity is the central gameplay element of Battlecore.Whoever can play with it, wins. Although you can use double jumps and dash to try and react to recoil, once you’ve gone over the edge, it’s difficult to stop yourself from falling over the red arena boundary.

If you never really got to grips with physics in school, you’ll soon realize that here. Although Battlecore’s controls can be learned quite quickly, it takes some time to get a really good grip on the balls.

I kept falling out of one of the four arenas during the play session because I completely underestimated the distance of a jump. Thanks to the pleasantly short respawn times, however, the frustration caused by such small mistakes is limited. The good hit feedback also contributes to the fun of the game

These arenas are available in Battlecore Arena at the Early Access launch:

A shooter who didn’t want to be one

But why the hell are you actually playing a ball in Battlecore Arena? This design decision is rooted in the history of the former developer studio Cosmic Ray. The inventors of Battlecore were originally four people

However, in the early planning phase for their next shooter, the team member responsible for the character animations unexpectedly left. The remaining three developers therefore decided to continue with balls as characters instead,as these are much easier to animate.

In addition, the shooter should be as peaceful as possible despite the admittedly violent genre. After much deliberation, the team finally came up with the idea of not making killing the opponent the aim of the game, but rather pushing them out of the arena.

What can the game do at the start?

In the Early Access version, Battlecore will initially offer three different game modes:

  • Backup:A team deathmatch with teams of three players each.
  • FFA:Free for all, or everyone against everyone.
  • QBall:You must capture a special core for your ball and hold it for as long as possible.

Basically, Battlecore Arena is designed as a Free-2-Play title.However, there is an in-game store for cosmetic items and a Season Pass. The developers plan to provide their game with new content over several seasons and incorporate feedback from the community in future development.

Each upcoming season will focus on a different themeThe first will revolve around the theme of waterand will feature corresponding skins, banners and victory poses. However, these cosmetics are not relevant to the gameplay

A final release date for Battlecore Arena has not yet been set.So far, the multiplayer title is only planned for PC.

What do you think of the new edition of Battlecore Arena? Have you already tried the original a few years ago or is this the first time you’ve heard of the platform shooter? How do you like the gameplay? Let us know in the comments below: