Squad Busters: First Look at the Supercell new game in Soft launch!

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They’ve done it again! New game in the soft launch. New game to be killed. Potentially. You never know with Supercell.

Well, I guess there is always an 80% chance the new game in the soft launch will be killed. Anyway, there is the new soft launched kid on the Supercell block called Squad Busters! Let’s take a look. 

I’ve also talked about different Supercell games in the softlaunch / closed beta:

Floodrush

Clash mini

Mo.co

What is Squad Busters?

Squad Busters is a newly announced Supercell game combining characters from all of their games, including Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, and Brawl Stars. The mobile game has a couple of different modes with the premise of battling online against other players using your squad of characters.

Currencies

Diamonds, Tickets, Gems, Orbs, Experience, Coins, Green gems

One Game mode – Gem Hunt (Solo)

Gem Hunt is a 10-player free-for-all game mode where you must collect the most gems to win. You start off with one character you can choose out of three. Then, you collect coins by chopping down trees or defeating monsters to purchase more characters from chests.

As you build up your squad and roam around the map, you’ll come in contact with other players you can try and take out to steal their coins and gems. If you or another opponent does get Busted, they’ll be eliminated from the game. 

Plaza Chest

A nice-looking chest sits In the middle of your plaza with a timer that scales —random rewards after the opening. Started with few hours timer and ended up with 15h.

Squad Busters just finished its 2nd beta test

Squad Busters just finished its 2nd beta test and it’s a great game design exercise looking at the changes between the two versions. The main challenges in the first version were repetitiveness of the main mode, lack of depth during gameplay and too much luck factor in the first pick of the characters. 

The luck factor was nicely solved with the addition of a reroll mechanic, where players can use a consumable to get refresh on a choice of 3 characters once per match. This is especially critical in the very first pick of the match, as the first character determines how fast you can build up your squad compared to other players. It can still end up being a lackluster starting character, but by giving players the choice to reroll, the frustration is definitely mitigated to some degree. 

As you collect more and more characters throughout the match you start to form strategies around those which were very straight forward before. Now, they borrowed the merging mechanic from the auto-chess genre, where if you collect 3 of the same character they merge into a stronger one than the previous version. Not only does the new character has more health than 3 combined and has an ability bonus, but you also lower your character count as every other character costs more gold per chest, which actually goes down with the merge. So now you have some interesting choices/ risks to take during choosing your character setup during gameplay.

Re-roll!

You can buy re-roll dice for five gems. You really want to stock up with these and grind your ass off. You can re-roll your first 3 squad options and re-roll whenever you want to add someone new to your squad. Pretty useful!

The repetitiveness was solved thanks to the random modes implementation that is similar to Marvel Snap’s locations where they successfully solved the same problem. These randomly selected mods add gameplay altering mechanics that not only drastically increase the variety of the game but also increase depth. For example because of the golden monsters mode you definitely want to pick the bow character which has a damage bonus only against monsters which are now dropping much more gold. 

The progression system in Squad Busters is similar to Brawl Stars, where there is a fixed reward track that paces the game. There is of course the second track which acts as a battle pass that is segmented, where you need to buy multiple parts of the track in each unlocked region.

You can unlock new characters, game Worlds, Spells, and more in the game. There is a battle pass with rewards for leveling up in the game by playing and completing quests. You are unlocking new worlds as you progress through the levels. 

Level 15

Unlocking a new Dessert world and new characters, new spells, and battle mods

Level 35

Unlocking new Royal world and new characters, new spells, and battle mods. The Mortis character is OP AF! 

Squad Busters currently only has one unlocked game mode that is available to play. However, a Party UP! game mode and Ranked is shown but locked in the game. 

The progression is unusually fixed for a typical Supercell gacha-driven game. Here players are unlocking heroes either from their level progress, calendar-based events or unlock orbs, which is a special currency given through progress. They can then choose themselves which hero to unlock. As the player level progresses different worlds “unlock” the possibility to unlock new heroes which the orbs must be spent on and only then heroes can be upgraded first through elixir to increase their level and then through gold to unlock their abilities on those higher levels.

Characters and their level

Squad Busters characters are the troops you can add to your squad during battles. Each has their own special ability, role, and rarity to help you build a powerful team that can dominate the arena. To have a well-balanced squad, it can be smart to assemble characters with a variety of Classes:

  • All-Rounder: A healthy mix of attack and defense, a solid pick to balance your Squad.
  • Attacker: Huge damage but little health, deadly when paired with defensive characters.
  • Defender: Massively healthy, a great pick for superior Squad defense.
  • Healer: Heals or boosts health, vital for keeping your Squad fighting.
  • Speedster: Boosts movement, crucial for outrunning opponents.
  • Supplier: Optimizes resources, great for gaining loot or building Squads.

For each World in the game, there is a new collection of characters that can either be unlocked by reaching a certain player level or by purchasing with Orbs. Then, you can start using your previous and newly unlocked characters in the games. Each character can be leveled up to level 7 now!

It seems maximum hero levels are increased by each world, which then increases the spend depth, but as mentioned there is no gacha that we have seen and the current game monetization or better said monetization incentive seems very light.

This is also facilitated by the fact that you can’t choose your own deck of characters as in Clash Royale which consumes all of your resources primarily.

On the other hand it is better in a way that you need to upgrade everyone as you never know which character you get to choose during the gameplay, but it also means that there are always a lot of “free: characters to choose from, similarly to the league of legends rotation system that offers different free champions each week. 

There is also the decoration/ buildings mechanic which not only give the ability to spend hammers currency (found during battles) for cosmetic building but also some resource buildings, possibly alleviating the resource demand in the later stages of the game as there will be probably more and more champions that will demand more and more gold and elixir to be fully upgraded. 

One other interesting tidbit is that in the first beta, there was the big elephant in the room which was a missing social mechanic, as all Supercell games are best enjoyed with friends somehow, and in the second beta we can clearly see the “party up” locked button. This seems rather interesting because the current main mode is designed for last-man-standing gameplay rather than team coop, which could mean that we have not seen the real endgame mode of Squad Busters yet which would involve premade teams of friends competing against each other. 

Player Feedback

Honestly, I’m not that impressed. Its a bit of fun but unlike clash or brawlstars there isn’t a great deal you can do to affect the game in terms of your skill. Mostly about getting lucky with the chests.

I played Squadbusters for an hour and found that it’s literally the same strategy and rng. Do you guys think it’s repetitive?

With the addition of modifiers and character rotation (which you only get when you get to the clash Royale world) I think it is very replayable, obviously progression slows down after a while and right now there is no real purpose to play the game further. I see it as one of those .io games where you replayed it and it was still fun because the sort of things that can happen but it gets tiring after playing non-stop for a while

Well, it is in beta for a reason, it’s not going to be perfect

Players are ruthless, they expect to get full-fledged experience from the day 1!

Our Squad Busters rating for this closed beta:

Chance for a global launch

7/10

Player experience 

8/10

Game design

9/10

What do you think? 

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