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Hands-on with Flame Versus Blaze, Square Enix's upcoming entry into the mobile MOBA genre

Blaze it?

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Product: Flame Versus Blaze | Publisher: Square Enix | Genre: Multiplayer, MOBA
For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
Square Enix has just soft launched its own entry into the mobile MOBA genre in US and Canada. It's called Flame Versus Blaze, and we thought that we'd grab it, give it a go, and see what all the fuss is about.

Bear in mind that this is a preview of a game that's not been launched worldwide yet, so there's a chance things might change before the rest of the planet are allowed to get their hands on it.

So long as you're cool with that, let's jump face first into this beast and find out what on earth it's all about, shall we?

Go to war

If you're thinking this is going to be another Clash Royale clone, you're barking up the wrong branch of the MOBA tree. This is much closer in tone to the likes of Vainglory.

We're talking a fully featured MOBA with big maps, three-on-three battles, and a far more complex structure than Supercell's world beater. But is that a good thing?

The first thing you'll notice when you're playing Flame Versus Blaze is that it likes to do things in its own way. It's got the shape of a standard MOBA, but it kicks things about to suit its own ideas.

For example there aren't really any towers. Well, there are, but destroying them isn't the main aim of the game. Towers feed mana into your base, and if they're destroyed you're going to end up with less mana.

This is a bad thing, because the end of each battle involves each side's base turning into a giant monster and running into the centre of the map for a massive scrap. You can change the outcome of this battle with your heroes, but a giant monster with less mana is always at a disadvantage.

There are other twists too. Mana point pop up at random, and you need to smash them to collect more. Your minions wander around the level, waiting for you to attack them. Knock them out and they'll join your side.

Towering inferno

On top of that there's a card system as well, and different heroes have different attributes. You can even change those attributes when you're in your base to effect the flow of the battle.

In other words there's an awful lot to learn here. And if you're at the more casual end of the gaming spectrum it's likely to be pretty overwhelming.

While the game does have a tutorial, there's a lot of stuff going on that you're going to have to figure out for yourself.

It certainly looks the part though, with gorgeous graphics and a bright cartoon aesthetic that sets it apart from some of the more drab MOBAs on the App Store.

Is it going to shake the genre up? I'm not so sure. It's definitely designed to appeal to the hardcore MOBA player, but whether the changes it throws into the mix are enough to drag them away from their current game of choice remains to be seen.

Still, it's nice to see a game that's not just painting by numbers. Time is going to tell whether that refusal to adhere to some of the more solid rules of the MOBA is going to pay off.

Reviewer photo
Harry Slater 6 October 2017
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