The Machines Arena can be best described as a mix of Diablo and Valorant, played in third-person as a top-down shooter. The game features two main modes, allowing players to play solo or with others through quick play and custom lobby options. Currently in closed beta, access codes are being distributed via collaborations, content creators, and the development team.
Although the game currently lacks lore, there is potential for a storyline to be developed from the playable characters, which could enhance player engagement. The team behind The Machines Arena, Directive Games, has experience in game development, having published titles such as Ready Player One: Oasis, The Machines AR, and Super Kaiju. This expertise has been expanded upon through their newly-formed partnership with Axie Infinity creators, Sky Mavis. With this collaboration, Directive Games plans to bring a new flagship title to web3 gaming on the Ronin network.
To play, players need to download the game through the Epic Games Store. It is currently available only on PC, with minimum requirements including 20GB of hard disk space and a low-level graphics card, starting with the GeForce 760 range. There are no on-chain rewards or wallet connection capabilities at the moment, but planned rewards include digital collectibles usable within the game.
After downloading the game, players load into the main menu, which displays the different game modes, starting with the PvP Tutorial. This tutorial teaches players the basic game controls and modes they will encounter in multiplayer gameplay. The main menu also offers the ability to add friends to groups, add previous team members as friends, and view player performance statistics.
One of the two major game modes is called Death Run, a single-player mode where players progress through rooms, fighting NPCs of varying difficulties within a limited time frame. As players advance, they encounter increasingly challenging NPCs and boss fights. Player progress can be seen at the top of the screen, with each completed room filled in red. At certain points in this mode, players can enter rooms to upgrade their weapons, movement, health, and abilities, as well as choose to end their current run. Players must finish their run in an intermittent room for their score to count on the leaderboard.
The other main game mode is multiplayer, which can be accessed through quick play and custom lobby options in the main menu. Quick play places players into a new or ongoing match with random team members. Players are divided into red and blue teams, each consisting of four members. Both teams compete for objectives based on the game mode, which currently includes three options: Detonation, Skirmish, and Pushback.
In Detonation, teams are divided into Team Defender and Team Assault. The Assault Team's main objective is to grab the fuse and plant it at one of the two fuse sites. Once planted, they must defend it until it detonates, while the defending team tries to prevent this until time runs out.
Skirmish resembles a team deathmatch mode, where the two teams battle to be the first to reach 35 kills. Both teams have a five-minute time limit; after this, the team with the most kills wins.
The Pushback objective has both teams competing to push a cart into the opposing team's base. Each base is represented by a rectangle of their respective color. In this mode, there is also a timer, which, when expired, triggers overtime and causes each base to slowly move into the middle neutral zone. The team that has pushed the cart furthest towards the enemy's base wins at this stage.
In the custom lobbies option on the main menu, players can invite their friends and select the mode they wish to battle in. Currently, the only mode available to players is Pushback.
In both options, players can choose from three main roles when picking their Machine to battle with: Tank, Support, and Assault. The tanks currently available are Riot, Pyro, and Daye. Tanks have high health and abilities that help the team get closer to the fight by providing protection. In the support category, players can choose from Devol, Ozymandias, and Tesla, which are all ranged machines with healing abilities for their allies. The Assault category features damage dealers named Nightcore, Noble, and Zulu, all of whom have special abilities that deal significant damage to the opposing team.
The Machines Arena is a highly energetic, enjoyable shooter that caters to players looking to play solo or with friends. As part of the Epic Games Store, it makes it easy for players to add friends to their lobby and connect with players they have previously played with. Directive Games has done an excellent job ensuring this functionality is integrated into the game, providing numerous ways for players to socialize and onboard their friends. Another advantage of being in the Epic Games Store is the reliability it offers to players when downloading the game, which is currently in closed beta.
When it comes to the graphics of the game, the main menu is very responsive and transitions smoothly into each game mode. Once inside the game, the graphics are well-designed for the purpose of the game; the hitboxes match the character's positioning, and there is little to no lag. However, given the third-person view, the current level of graphics leaves something to be desired compared to what is available in AAA titles.
Regarding the audio, the main menu music aligns well with the game's theme, but it can be quite loud at the default setting, which might be too loud for some users wearing headphones. Fortunately, the audio settings can be adjusted in the menu, allowing players to easily modify the volume. Inside the game, the audio from gunfire and abilities makes it easy for players to locate the source, and the sound levels remain appropriate even during close combat.
As for the gameplay itself, it is enjoyable, and the single-player mode adds variety. However, when playing the multiplayer mode, the only available mode is Pushback, and considering the beta has been open for almost a year, this aspect leaves something to be desired, especially since the tutorial also teaches the Skirmish mode. Some machines, like Pyro, have a clear advantage in terms of damage output compared to others with lower health.
Although The Machine Arena is a high-quality game that provides fun for a wide range of players, the game suffers from a small number of bugs and has a few areas that could be improved. The bugs primarily involve freezing and some visual errors that affect certain machines, such as Nightcore. Furthermore, the game does not yet offer any web3 capabilities, despite marketing itself as one.
Currently, leaving this feature out helps with the adoption of typical players, although the marketing of being a web3 game can counteract this benefit. Areas that could be improved include in-game communication to enable better team coordination and expanding multiplayer modes to allow players to enjoy more than just Pushback mode. Apart from these issues, the team at Directive Games has done an excellent job creating a fast-paced shooter that players can enjoy, with reliable security, performance, and the option to play solo or with others. This foundation sets the stage for The Machine Arena to excel in the future, making it a game to watch as it progresses from closed beta to open beta.
The Machine Arena, while offering enjoyable gameplay and catering to a wide audience, has some areas for improvement, such as addressing bugs like freezing and visual errors, and incorporating web3 capabilities as advertised. Enhancing in-game communication for better team coordination and expanding multiplayer modes would further elevate the experience. Despite these issues, Directive Games has successfully created a fast-paced shooter with reliable security, performance, and versatile play options. The game's solid foundation makes it one to watch as it transitions from closed to open beta.
Great social tools to play with friends
Solo and Multiplayer modes
Limited to one game mode in multiplayer
Few visual errors at times
No communication with players inside game
About The Machines Arena