It's always exciting to be on the crest of a new innovation in a familiar genre. Playing Slay the Spire upon its initial debut, you knew that there would be a slew of competitors marrying card games to roguelikes. I get similar feelings while playing Quantum League, an area shooter with a time travel twist. It's FFA combined with team-based combat, a game where positioning is key and every bullet counts. As fast-paced as Rocket League and as tense as Rainbow Six, Quantum League's unique gameplay hook is an amazing foundation to build upon.
How do you play Quantum League?
Each round of Quantum League lasts a mere fifteen seconds. You pick one of five guns (SMG, Grenade Launcher, Sniper, Laser, Shotgun) and venture out, trying to kill your opponent and capture the point in the center. When you die, you can keep dishing out damage, and you'll want to. That's because a new round starts and you're playing as a second clone alongside your first life. If you can manage to stop yourself from dying, your clone performs the actions you recorded. Keep everyone alive and you have a great chance of nabbing the victory.
It's a simple premise, but there's a lot of complexity to how each round plays out. You're always facing off with a human player, so expect the unexpected. The maps are small enough that you have a good chance of guessing which way they'll go, but it's never guaranteed. Each gun is also a simple archetype you're familiar with, something that's boring to start but gets the job done. I found that the bigger maps played a bit better, mostly due to how fast some of my fellow beta players already are on the trigger. Of course, that might also be a mouse and keyboard thing.
Like most games in 2020, Quantum League supports gamepads of all sorts, but not completely. Some menus and actions still require more traditional PC controls, including selecting your weapon at the beginning of each round. If you are a gamepad player, it takes you out of the groove to stumble around with a Numpad to switch from Shotty to SMG, so here's hoping that the controls improve over time.
Gamepad controls once you start playing are good, but they're also not 100% there yet. I had a few moments where my weapons would swing wildly one way or the other with a simple tap of the joystick. It's enough of a hazard to cost games in a contest as fast-paced as Quantum League, so I would recommend sticking with the mouse at this early stage. For accessibility's sake, I hope the full release later this year has all these gamepad issues ironed out.
Loot And Plunder
The aesthetic surrounding the game is pretty typical for a multiplayer shooter coming out now, heavily inspired by Overwatch and its cast of characters. This isn't a hero shooter since characters are merely cosmetic options, but that doesn't stop Quantum League from having a fat list of cosmetic loot to earn in-game. There are no loot boxes as of now, but there is an alternate currency you earn to obtain them. It's the type of system that seems destined to contain microtransactions at some point. Considering that most of the loot currently consists of unexciting pallet swaps, it's probably fine either way.
Talk of monetization and janky controls aside, Quantum League already feels fully delivered in its beta state. With more maps, better cosmetics and perhaps a few more unique weapons in its arsenal, it could be a shooter that captures the imagination of players across Steam. After its current open beta period (running until March 2nd), the game plans to go dark again and reemerge in Steam Early Access later this year. I'll be exicted to see what the final product looks like and if Quantum League can expand enough to do its unique gameplay justice.
TechRaptor previewed Quantum League on PC via Steam with a Closed Beta key provided by the developers.