3rd Person Shooters, Crafting and MOBAs Combine in Minimum

Have you ever wanted to see MOBA concepts in a multiplayer third person shooter? It might seem like an odd combination at first, but Minimum sells itself as exactly that kind of game. Currently in Early Access, the appeal of this gameplay combination is there. There are already nice crowds of players available to fill out 5v5 matches! Still, developer Human Head Studios does have a lot of work to go to make Minimum a fully featured experience.

Minimum is an odd game with the multiple genres of gameplay it brings together. As just mentioned, there are MOBA aspects with regards to how players approach the battlefield. Although there are only two stages to play, each has three distinct lanes and an area each team must protect. Then there’s the third person shooter play which should feel familiar to multiplayer shooter fans. Players select from a variety of user-determined loadouts which include two weapons and a deployable good (minigun, grenade).

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Weapons are an interesting mix as players can utilize expected weaponry like shotguns and machine guns alongside ridiculous plasma guns. There are even katanas thrown into the mix which serve as great “panic” melee weapons. Learning how to utilize katanas proves a bit tough at first but players who stick with them will become very formidable opponents. Perhaps the strangest, and currently unneeded, aspect of Minimum is a crafting system.

The crafting system (as it exists right now) stands as basically a fancy unlock system. After matches, players are given various crafting goodies. Once enough are collected you can head into the crafting menu and select from a series of weapon blueprints. As long as you’ve got the goods to spend, a new weapon will be added to your collection. It is fairly nonsensical to call it crafting when you could simply ask a player to spend points or coins for the same exact effect. Hopefully the developers have something more interesting in mind with weapon crafting.

Players engaged in Titan mode (currently the only one available) must protect their side from being rampaged by an enemy Titan. Titans are Minimum’s name for huge robots that punch anything in their path. For the most part, teams engage in player-vs-player gameplay until an enemy Titan begins its approach. However, you’ll likely find yourself dying a lot if you don’t don some armor beforehand.

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Armor is crafted, as like weapons, but actually occurs during matches and on every match. When enemies are killed they spew lots of colorful shapes. Picking these up increases the craftable goods you have, which you can then spend for pieces of armor. Each one has its own effects which include great stuff like 10% extra Titan damage. Of course, they also have negatives to balance them out, such as cutting 20% of your health. This concept is definitely pretty neat, although again it seems like they just use the term ‘crafting’ to appeal to players. Crafting gear also leaves your character stationary for the duration which means you’re very susceptible to attack when doing so.

Although the crafting system seems to be rather silly right now, the main gameplay is very fun. Even though every match has paired me with strangers, as there’s no way to make private games yet, most everyone has been a good sport. When at first I wasn’t sure how to create armor another teammate quickly explained the basics. Of course, the weapons feel awesome as well making it easy to burn through match after match.

The funny thing about Titan mode is how meaningless the Titans seem to be right now. No, you can’t control them, and they move along one pathway each time. Players simply tend to fight amongst each other and completely ignore the giant bots. It seems they are either killed off nearly immediately or only once they’re dangerously close to a team’s base. There definitely needs to be more reason to care about titans to make this mode stand out against more typical ones in other games.

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Why is the game called Minimum? I can’t purport to know exactly what the developers intended with it, but the graphics might have something to do with the decision. The most distinctive thing about the game is that every character is a simple, blocky humanoid. Levels follow this same design scheme and are also made out of flat rectangles. It’s a very distinct look and strangely appealing. Despite the simplistic visuals, some players have experienced optimization issues with it thus far.

A lot of work needs to be done to Minimum, but that’s why the game is in Early Access to begin with. Even so, the main experience is addictively fun, as minimal as it currently is. Third person shooter fans should be able to slip right in and start kicking butt. Even those with less experience should find this game easy to understand. I intend to keep playing as new features and tweaks come to the experience, hopefully improving my kill/death ratio along the way. If Minimum is already entertaining, it can only get better as it inches toward completion.