Outworld Battlegrounds (Review)

With the Battle Royale game type becoming a staple for many large scale games it’s pretty cool to see just how well the basic concepts can apply to smaller games. Imagine taking a top down shooter in the vein of oldies like Gauntlet, Alien Breed and dust it with a light coating of PUBG and you might get something a lot like Outworld Battlegrounds. Only just leaving Steam Early Access, the game from HitGrab Game Labs isn’t shy of where its inspirations come from and honestly that’s not a bad thing because you know exactly what you’re getting from the game. Before the game starts players have a few seconds to choose their starting point before they pop into the map and fight away. From there it’s a case of scouring the map for weapons and supplies while fending off your opponents and keeping ahead of the closing circle until you’re the last one standing.

Default controls let you use WASD for movement and the mouse for aiming and shooting via a crosshair that revolves around your character. Your aim is important as you can only actively see what is within your field of vision meaning you are constantly having to check your surroundings. You can also play the game using a controller which may feel more comfortable for some players. Onscreen character movement feels very deliberate in its pace so neither control option has a clear advantage over the other.

Things I like:

  • Games are FAST. A session is likely to last only a few minutes making this great for getting a quick fix.
  • The vision system is very effective and the game does a great job of making it clear exactly what you can see at any time. Sneaking up to players is very possible. You can hide behind trees too!
  • For the most part everyone is on an even footing. Once you find a gun you’ve got as much a chance of winning as anyone. I certainly found it easy to score kills here.
  • Every game I’ve jumped into so far has players in there – whether they are human or bots hasn’t really mattered to me much as they all seem like good competition.
  • Forcing players to “drop” into allocated zones forces confrontations faster than being able to drop into the whole map from the beginning.
  • You can play solo, in duos and in squads too. I think I need more friends. 😉

Things that need work:

  • The loot drops need some tweaking. It’s very easy to be left in a situation where you are weaponless for a good part of the game.
  • Some of the inventory related mechanics feel like a little too much work. Having some of that automated (like reloads and ammo pickups) so you can focus on the run and gun side might speed it up.
  • Even with the sprint key I do wish characters moved a little faster…

Completion of a game nets you credits that you can spend on cosmetics for your character in the store. You have the option to select distinct parts (head, arms, etc) instead of whole “skins” so you want to mix and match parts. Not all items in the store can be bought with credits though – others require crystals that involve a dollar purchase.

Though it doesn’t stray too far from the “PUBG in 2D” concept Outworld Battlegrounds gives players a fun experience for players wanting a quick fix for their Battle Royale obsessions. As with all games like this it takes a decent sized player base to make it work so fingers crossed it succeeds and the developers can continue working on the game further. I was able to get a “space-chicken dinner” too so that made my day. 🙂

Outworld Battlegrounds is out now on PC from the Steam marketplace. Early access to the game was kindly provided by the developer.

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