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"No, not the nerd expo" ex­plains Ju­lian Rizzo-Smith

In the past, de­vel­oper Pri­mal Game Studio has re­ferred to Su­per­nova as a MOBA/RTS hy­brid, a state­ment that could be con­strued as be­ing more than a bit mud­dled given how MOBA game­play arose from RTS. With a lit­tle dig­ging, how­ever, it makes com­plete sense: Su­per­nova is bring­ing el­e­ments of RTS game­play back to a genre that had pre­vi­ously ex­cised them. On the sur­face, it looks like a sci-fi take on a tra­di­tional three lane MOBA, with teams of five tak­ing each other on to de­stroy the en­emy’s base. Dig a lit­tle deeper, though, and Su­per­nova re­veals it­self to be a whole lot more.

Whereas MOBAs tend to­wards the mi­cro in terms of con­trol, with play­ers do­ing lit­tle more than con­trol­ling their char­ac­ter, Su­per­nova brings back el­e­ments of the macro plan­ning that comes with RTS games. Play­ers not only con­trol their char­ac­ters and cooldowns but also a tech tree and economy for build­ing min­ions to send in waves at the en­emy.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing lit­tle wrin­kle that gives iden­tity to the game. Rather than us­ing in-game cur­rency to buy equip­ment and up­grades, Su­per­nova in­stead fea­tures a per­sonal up­grade sys­tem, with ex­pe­ri­ence ac­crued through battle used to up­grade stats and abil­i­ties, RPG style.

The dif­fer­ent types of units avail­able for con­struc­tion all have dif­fer­ent strengths and weak­nesses, so de­cid­ing what set of units are best for your lane is para­mount to smooth play. If the en­emy is con­cen­trat­ing on in­fantry it could be ad­van­ta­geous to build some fly­ing units to take them out rel­a­tively safely. Of course this could leave your units very vul­ner­a­ble to anti-air or tur­ret at­tacks, leav­ing the com­man­der alone to try and ad­vance a push.

The game utilises a tra­di­tional three lane MOBA setup with jungling, spawns to kill for powerups, and the like. This lends Su­per­nova a pow­er­ful sense of fa­mil­iar­ity de­spite the fact that the re­source man­age­ment and build­ing me­chan­ics dis­tance the game from oth­ers in the style. At its cur­rent stage it’s a fun and rel­a­tively fast mov­ing af­fair that con­tains both mul­ti­player and sin­gle player vs bots to get you fa­mil­iar with maps, spawns and play styles. The game will be free to play when it fi­nally re­leases with some form of mi­cro­trans­ac­tions (most prob­a­bly the buy­ing of new char­ac­ters and skins).

The only area in which Su­per­nova re­ally falls flat is in its pre­sen­ta­tion and story. On the sur­face it looks like a rudi­men­tary Star­craft II ex­pan­sion, with all the va­ri­ety and flash that im­plies. The two fac­tions, Hu­mans and Cy­borgs, are pretty un­in­ter­est­ing as well, with the two sides es­sen­tially be­ing hu­mans in robot suits and ro­bots in human suits. It’s a func­tional premise, and MOBAs are def­i­nitely games that don’t re­ally rely on story, but a lit­tle more ef­fort with the back­ground would be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Su­per­nova has been in open Beta for some time now, so we should ex­pect the fi­nal game some-time in early 2017.

Play­ers not only con­trol their char­ac­ters and cooldowns but also a tech tree and economy for build­ing min­ions

Oooh, now this is awk­ward... who gets right of way?

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