What if there was a Diablo-like ARPG where instead of selecting from a handful of preset abilities, you could handcraft your very own heroic persona down to the finest detail? That’s precisely what comic book-inspired superhero adventure game Superfuse hopes to deliver, and so far developer Stitch Heads Entertainment’s ambitious undertaking shows a lot of potential. The plethora of combat options feature dozens of combinations of abilities, modifiers, and status effects that pile on submenus within submenus to create one of the most disgustingly customizable hero-builders I’ve ever seen. It’s a stat-consumed nerd’s dream, and if Stitch Heads can pull it off I could easily see it becoming my next obsession.
Superfuse is a dungeon crawling style game in the vein of Diablo, but it trades in the wizard hat and dragons for a futuristic sci-fi world wrapped in a comic book aesthetic and art style. As you might expect, you spend a lot of your time blasting your way through hordes of enemies and collecting loot as you explore new areas, tackle quests, and level up. It’s a loop you probably know well if, like me, you’ve been addicted to life-consuming ARPGs of the past. But any similarity to my looting adventures of yesteryear ended the moment I opened up the menu and was greeted by piles upon piles of skill trees and customization options in one of the most intricate power-creation systems I’ve ever beheld.
From the beginning to the end of my time with Superfuse, it was all about options. After selecting my base hero, The Berserker, a hulking beast of a man with muscles for days, I almost immediately found myself defining what kind of hero I would become, evolving it along the way. It started with progressing down fairly straightforward talent trees to determine the kind of hero I’d develop into, like one upgrade path that was all about brute force and melee domination or another that imbued my Berserker with Thor-like lightning abilities. Progressing down my chosen talent tree unlocked super abilities, such as the ability to lob lightning axes as a part of the lightning-themed talent tree, as well as passive traits meant to synergize with my build.
But things got much more interesting once I began to customize the super abilities I was unlocking with Superfuse’s Skill Creator. You see, each ability I unlocked had a dedicated skill menu of its own, where additional modifying sub-abilities could be unlocked to customize how exactly that power works. So in my lightning axe-throwing scenario, I could increase the range of that power, give the axe the ability to bounce off of walls, or even make it split into a cone of multiple axes. The startling number of options available for each power allowed me to make my hero’s power my own.
But it didn’t end there. If I didn’t like any of the out-of-the-box power customization options, I could access yet another customization sub-menu called Power Fuses, which were modifiers that could be dragged and attached to the Skill Creator tree to homebrew my own effects. The amount of Skill Fuse options were nearly endless, encompassing just about every effect you could think of from adding a poison effect, to sapping health from the enemy upon kill, to spreading the electricity across a whole group of enemies. Each Skill Fuse, once added to the Skill Creator tree could then be modified with its own sub-effects for an even more granular level of customization.
For those keeping score at home, that’s five levels of customization. Selecting a hero, then choosing the base powers you want to unlock from that hero’s talent trees, then selecting how you want that ability to function within its own dedicated Skill Creator menu, then modifying that skill tree with Power Fuses, and finally modifying those modifiers so they work exactly the way you want. The whole process was completely overwhelming in the best possible way and it was genuinely hard to pull myself away from the menu as I imagined all the different death cocktails I could create with the nigh-endless amount of freedom Superfuse granted me.
This means that when playing with friends, even two superheroes molded from the same character class could operate completely differently, with one Berserker being a melee-focused monster wielding a giant hammer, while another slays from a distance with crazy lightning abilities. I can’t wait to see what kinds of crazy concoctions players come up with when Superfuse is released in early access later this year.
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Author: Travis Northup