EARLY ACCESS REVIEW: Juncture Media Enters eSports with Ultrafast Turn-Based Combat in AVARIAvs (PC)

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Juncture Media’s foray into the world of eSports comes in the shape of “ultrafast turnbased combat”. AVARIAvs lives up to its name, as matches of 3-vs-3 combat, average about 10-15 minutes which keep the action frantic. There are also various mechanics in place to keep players on their toes at all times, or risk being penalized. There are 6 premade teams in AVARIAvs: Tactician, Berserker, Mender, Guardian, Warlock, and Sentinel. Each have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. With a diverse roster there’s bound to be several unique metas in play that people will have to learn to become victorious.

Each premade team has a two-point list with a brief overview of the team:

Tactician is well balanced and adaptable and probably the best class to start off with to learn the mechanics of AVARIAvs. Berserker is geared towards the full burst damage capabilities but has to trade that in for weak defensive and healing abilities. Mender is for those looking to heal through damage, but don’t expect to see big numbers on attacks though. If you’re looking to be tankier and still do some all-around damage and healing, then Guardian is your choice. Warlock is the team composition to choose if you like to riddle your opponents with status effects. Lastly, the Sentinel team are late-game powerhouses, but lack healing capabilities, however, they are a true definition of risk versus reward.

If you’re picking up AVARIAvs as a single player, it has team builds in place if you want to jump into battle quickly. However, if you desire to make a customized team, you have two custom slots to create your dream team from the 16 available heroes. The teams in AVARIAvs are pretty well crafted and are able to be picked up and played with without issue.

Now to speak on the bread and butter of AVARIAvs, game modes. There are 3 modes, online which has Ranked, Private Matches, and offline which has local split-screen and bot matches. The addition of local split-screen is something I enjoy seeing in games, because it seems like a lot of games that aren’t “party focused” omit this game mode entirely forcing players to own separate copies just to play. In local split-screen, the game behaves just like if you were to play online.

There are distractions from status effects, the timer, and The Judge. Some status effects, like confusion or disorient, are unique in AVARIAvs. These two status effects require the player to play a mini-game to have a chance at avoiding a penalty, which keeps the game fair, in my opinion, compared to other games where you just have to hope on RNG to allow you to attack your enemies and not your allies.

Moves in AVARIAvs are timed for both parties. If you happen to finish your moves before your opponent does, you can speed up the timers countdown by clicking buttons which adds more pressure to the player to hurry up and complete their actions. Whatever actions are completed within the time limit or void. This can be very stressful for first time players, especially if playing against more skilled players.

Then we have “The Judge”, an entity who does exactly what its name implies, judges the players. The Judge announces when a player is KO’d, when time is running out, and when the game has reached it’s maximum playing time and goes into sudden death and also announces if you win or lose.

Local split-screen is a good way to practice team composition against another player if bot matches are too simple and you don’t feel comfortable enough to hop into Ranked. Bot matches are just that, you play against a AI team of 3, usually the same team you chose to play yourself so you can possibly pick up on various ways to play. Personally, I would suggest looking for a friend to learn the ropes with or even hopping into the AVARIAvs discord and look for someone to spar within private matches, if you can’t get a local friend to play with you.

Ranked matches are where the action truly takes place. Here the gloves are off and your skills are put to the test. Winning and losing effect your ELO Rating, so based on your rating determines just how challenging your opponent will be when matched up. Also in the online space, your stats are tracked, you have an account level that earns unlocks as you hit milestones, and a leaderboard to see who the top 20 players in the world are.

Stat tracking in AVARIAvs is pretty in-depth as they show things from ELO Rating to last tournament played, to even specific special aspects achieved in matches. Speaking on Tournaments, AVARIAvs is in Season 1 of their tournament circuit with events happening online and also at real locations. According to their schedule there seems to be cash prizes for the winners and a even a major Championship to be held near the end of April.

Overall, AVARIAvs was a game that grasped my attention when I saw it at PLAY NYC last year and won my first ever match. Since then I have been following its development and I’m glad to see that it’s shaping up to be a great game. I have no qualms with the game at all, unless you consider boring AI a negative, but even though it can be boring it’s still a great way for newcomers to play classes without the pressure of another person on the other side. Not to mention, the music that plays in the menus is very catchy and upbeat. I found myself just sitting in the menus and letting the track loop a few times just because it is that catchy.

I would highly recommend checking this game out if you are a fan of turn-based games, PVP games, like fantasy or sci-fi games, or just looking for something fresh and new. AVARIAvs comes to Steam soon, but for right now you can wishlist the game and also join the discord to attempt to snag a key.

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