Having already delivered the acclaimed Moss franchise to players in the virtual reality space, Polyarc Games could very well rest on its laurels before potentially putting out another sequel, but that’s not how the developers are wired. Instead, the team is preparing to unleash Glassbreakers: Champions of Moss, the brand new 1v1 free-to-play real-time battler, on the masses, a game we had the pleasure of previewing at Gamescom 2023.
Instead of a narrative-driven experience, Glassbreakers will have players pit their skills against others in a tactical affair, controlling three heroes at once and trying to bring down the opponent’s defences. In a sense, it plays like a hex-based MOBA, but streamlined so that things don’t get too chaotic.
“Each character only has one ability, and we did that because it’s a little challenging to control three champions as it might add too much cognitive load,” shared developer Barton Slade before our session. With six champions on the board, various capture points, and the pressing need to protect one’s base, not having to micromanage is a good thing.
The seven available characters available at launch of Glassbreakers: Champions of Moss can result in a variety of squad setups that will see different playstyles come to the fore. While we initially went with a well-rounded squad with a tank flanked by both a ranged and melee champion, it wasn’t hard to see how a team of fast-moving heroes could circumvent any attempt to engage or lock up an area of the board, and that’s even before abilities like AoE effects and powerful damage dealers are thrown in.
Being able to see the board is one thing, but your opponent is also moving within your perspective. This was by design, as the Glassbreakers team wanted players to “see your opponent and what your opponent is doing while they’re doing it, so that there’s an opportunity there to read what they’re doing or to fake them out.”
Once we got strapped in, the familiar world of Moss filled us with war delight, albeit in a different way as the action took place above the area where the first two games took place. Controls were intuitive, whether it be moving around the board or commanding the champions to move to a specific spot or take an action. Activating abilities were also easy, either holding the controller in place or aiming at the enemy. Win or lose, Glassbreakers makes you feel immersed in this world quite masterfully.
The live service nature of the game will see Polyarc provide long-term support with more cosmetic content than is already in the game, with seasonal content and daily quests to keep players busy and coming back for more. Community feedback is also eagerly anticipated, with the developers hoping to refine the game further to appeal to more players.
Already available via Meta App Lab Early Access release, players with a Meta Quest 2 can jump into Glassbreakers for free, with a Steam version set to release later this year. While it may seem like a departure for the studio, this new experience will only expand on the beloved world that they have created, and it should keep us satiated until a proper sequel reveals itself.