I'm admittedly a little burnt out on battle royale shooters, but I'm still going to be trying Stormdivers because it's by Housemarque, masters of explosions, lasers and arcade shooters. This weekend (starting 1pm GMT on Saturday, January 26th), they'll be running a short open beta for duos. Grab a buddy, sign up for a free key here and hopefully I'll see you on the future space-battlefield tomorrow. Check out the trailer below, which unsurprisingly contains some very swooshy particle effects and big zappy laser weapons.
While there's still a few boring guns in there, Stormdivers does look to play a little more interestingly than most battle royales. Your initial character build includes two special abilities picked from a pool. Stuff like summoning instant defensive walls, teleporting, turning near-invisible, self-healing and so on. Players are also equipped with jetpacks to allow for a lot more aerial control, although no real flight. I'm a little disappointed by what I've seen of the map, though - lots of familiar valleys and trees, even if there are some weird alien mega-structures looming over it all.
While I have my reservations, I'm curious to see what Housemarque can bring to the table. The studio have been famous for their fast, twitchy arcade games since Super Stardust in the 90s. Sadly, their latest - Nex Machina, a twin-stick shooter co-developed with Robotron creator Eugene Jarvis - failed to sell, despite being a brilliant game, leading them to declare that "arcade is dead". Here's hoping they can bring some of that over-the-top burnt neon style to this increasingly well-worn genre, then, and that it finds its niche. Far too many multiplayer games from smaller studios have fizzled out before leaving early access this past year, and I'd hate to see it happen again here.