Everything you need to know right now about Omega Strikers
At the end of last year, I had the opportunity to test out Omega Strikers while it was still in beta. Fast forward to now and the game is officially out with some marked improvements and changes. It'll take some time to solidify thoughts on the game into a fully-fledged review, but until then I can share some impressions and recommendations about this exciting new kind of multiplayer game.
If you aren't up-to-date on what Omega Strikers is, it's a 3v3 competitive game about a fake sport that most closely resembles hockey. Teams all control hero characters with special abilities that they can use to hit a puck around (or each other) as they try score goals. In press releases it's commonly described as "Rocket-League-of-Legends," which is accurate enough, though I'd say a more apt comparison would be to games like Windjammers and Pokémon Unite.
What's new and what's the same?
With this official release, the core of the game is very much the same. Your primary goal is to score points, but in trying to do that it might be helpful to knock some opponents out of play temporarily. In doing all this you also have to be careful not to get knocked out yourself, which gives Omega Strikers a lot of its dynamism.
Outside of this core, most of the things present in the open beta have changed in some way. The structure of matches has been altered such that competitive matches are battles over "sets" of three goals, there are new stages that each have special mechanics, there are goal barriers that need to be "unlocked" before being able to score, and item loadouts have been completely revamped into a somewhat randomized drafting system that mixes things up all throughout the course of a match. All of these changes are on full display in the gameplay footage above and mostly captured in this post about the game on Steam.
How has the monetization panned out?
As a free-to-play game in beta, one of the big question marks surrounding the game was how pay-to-win it might feel. One item of concern around this in particular was the beta's trainer system, which asked players to spend currencies on small, equippable modifiers they could use on characters. Then, of course, there was the issue of also needing to grind currency to purchase players as well.
While you still have to do the latter, the idea of buying buffs or modifiers has been completely removed from the game. Although this isn't completely ideal from a "fairness" standpoint, the prices for the characters themselves also feel pretty reasonable, making Omega Strikers feel surprisingly more free-to-play friendly than it did in beta. There are--of course--a ton of cosmetics (some of which are tied to a battle pass that you can buy into), but otherwise the only thing you have to grind out or pay for to feel like you have all gameplay relevant options available to you is the strikers themselves.
Is it good?
As I said from the top, I'm not too sure I can give final judgement on Omega Strikers just yet, but I will say that overall I am finding it more fun and dynamic than the open beta thus far. That said, there is a small caveat that I do think is important to share about the game, particularly if you feel like hopping in to try it for yourself.
This official release of Omega Strikers feels shockingly unfriendly to new players. There is, of course, a tutorial that lets you beat up on some bots, but once you get through that there is absolutely no practice mode or way to try out characters before you buy them. There is also no real in-game reference material telling you how you might want to use particular characters or items or why. You just kind of have to figure that stuff out for yourself.
Thankfully (or perhaps not, depending on who you are), Omega Strikers is a very expressive game but often is a lot less mechanically deep than it appears. Underneath all of its style and flashy animations, the game boils down to who can work together to hit the ball into a goal, and oftentimes that doesn't need to involve knowing anything about tier lists, power curves, or any specialized game knowledge. You just have to outwit the players you are fighting against, ideally with the help of your teammates.