Last year, Amazon announced they would be getting into game publishing with three games, with Breakaway leading the way as their big release. Breakaway is a team game all about defending your goal while trying to get the ball into your enemy's. Oh, and there are lots of spells, swords, bombs, and other deadly means to get in your way.
It's only Rocket League because the goals at each end of an arena, but many people will find the SMITE comparison as somewhat relative. Breakaway is a hero shooter in a sense with the goal mechanics thrown in as its central mechanic. There are many heroes to choose from and they fall into a similar groups as SMITE, with tanks, supports, and your damage dealers.
The goal of the game is simple, as stated in the opening paragraph: score goals and don't let your opponent score any. Each hero has their own set of abilities that are quite unique from one another, but mostly fall in line with things you've seen in the past.
One of the things that made it difficult for me while playing Breakaway for a short time at PAX West was the fact that cooldowns seemed to last quite a while when you heal. I played as Alona, a healer who can heal a friendly player over time within a certain range. That only lasts a short while before it goes on cool down again. So healing's a bit hard and working together to protect one another is key. It's doubly important considering that every time you die your respawn timer increases. So just suiciding your way in is not a viable strategy in the least.
A unique mechanic to Breakaway is that each round each hero can build a unique Buildable on the map. These are physical structures you can place anywhere that have some kind of effect. For example, Alona puts down a buildable that heals heroes within its area. Other heroes have traps that fling people into the air and others have one that zaps people in the air to discourage them from leaping over obstacles. One hero's ability is to destroy those buildables.
They add an extra layer of strategy as placing buildables in good locations to create advantageous situations seems to be a key part of doing well in the game. While none are crazy powerful themselves, when placed together and having all of your team working together in that area, it definitely gives you a big edge of your opponents.
To keep the SMITE comparisons going, Breakaway also features items you can buy throughout a round and in-between rounds. These are things that will increase damage, increase armor, movement speed, etc. This allows you to of course customize your hero in some fashion to react to what your enemies are doing. It's just like creating a "build" in SMITE or other MOBA games. Right now, from what I saw, the items are relatively simplistic, but Breakaway still has a ways to go in development.
My time with Breakaway was short, but it was definitely chaotic fun. Following the ball around, passing it between teammates, and knocking it out of your enemies' hands was great fun. The simple idea of a ball and two goals adds a lot of tense moments that make the game great fun. And the more buildables that pile up as the rounds progress makes it quite interesting as well, with many different obstacles to avoid or try to fight around.
I think those that like SMITE or games similar to it will definitely enjoy Breakaway. It was fun and I'll be keeping an eye on it for the future to see where Breakaway goes.
You can play Breakaway yourself by signing up for the alpha here through Twitch. Currently, alpha tests run every Thursday through Saturday on PC.