Super Evil Megacorp, the minds behind long-standing mobile MOBA Vainglory, are back with a new game called Catalyst Black. This new title is a team-based shooter that focuses on equippable loot, and although it isn't out yet, the game recently became available to a select few folks during their early access period.
This early access, termed the "Secret Service" by the developers, is a limited form of the game that doesn't include all of the polish you might expect from an official release, but it does give a good sense of what Catalyst Black will be when it eventually hits the App Store. We were able to snag a spot in the Secret Service and are ready to spill everything we know about the game. Read on below to find out more, including how you might be able to join us online sooner rather than later.
What is Catalyst Black?
Catalyst Black is a colorful team-based shooter that you control from an overhead view. You can use virtual controls or a controller to move and shoot your way around this battlefield, but teamwork is key to success. The Secret Service only has three game modes currently, but all of them feature objectives that require a little more collaboration than your standard team deathmatch.
Before launching into a match, you can equip various pieces of equipment to your character that will determine their capabilities on the battlefield. Some of these things are fairly obvious (like guns) but there is also gear that can grant abilities like a heal or a burst of movement speed, plus items like masks that can transform you into a variety of giant beasts that can take on groups of opponents with ease.
How is this different?
In addition to providing satisfying multiplayer competition, Catalyst Black seems to be really focused on getting two things right: fast match-making and gear progression.
Rounds of Catalyst Black are all drop-in/drop-out, meaning you may get matched into games that are already in progress, and there's no penalty for bailing in the middle of a match for any reason (in fact your gear still earns experience if you quit a match early). The upside of this is that matchmaking wait times are super short, and it's very convenient to leave matches if they go on too long or you need to move on to do something else. In our time with the game, this hasn't caused any particular issues, but we can see a world in which people constantly quitting out of matches could make competitions pretty lopsided. Time will tell how this works out.
On the gear end of things, it almost feels like Catalyst Black is trying to be a hero shooter, though instead of choosing a specific person to play as, you just equip a loadout that gives you the tools you want. After each round of play, your equipped gear earns experience and can level up to become more powerful. There's also in-game currencies you can use to buy or upgrade your existing equipment. I'm not so sure how I feel about gear getting "stronger," as that can upset the balance of the game, but that doesn't seem to be creating any obvious problems thus far.
How can I get in the Secret Service?
If you want to join us online during Catalyst Black's early access period, all you have to do is head over to the Catalyst Black website and follow the instructions posted there to get a shot at an early access key.
That wasn't everything. I still have questions!
We'll be posting more about Catalyst Black as we get more time with the game. Check back here for more posts to be linked below, and leave us questions in the comments that we can answer for you!