Trans-Galactic Tournament Review

March 3, 2016 by Adam Barnes

MOBA comes to PS4.

Sigh. How many times have you read the term ‘MOBA’ in the last year or two? If it’s not publishers looking to imitate the success of League Of Legends and Dota 2 then it’s developers claiming they’re doing something ‘fresh’ with the genre or even trying to mask their game’s MOBA-inspiration completely.

It’s tiring, really, since most are launched in a bluster of eagerness, determination and - usually - a lack of foresight. Each new MOBA is met with a sense of disdain, no matter how competent, unconventional or well produced it is.

Enter Trans-Galactic Tournament, one of the few second generation MOBAs that might actually have a chance to garner some degree of popularity. Not for its originality, however, but for the sheer fact that it smartly adapts its core gameplay to a more console-friendly format.

Gone are minions and towers in favor of a more condensed experience, one that utilizes more familiar multiplayer modes for a crowd not often clued-up on the intricacies of last-hitting and item builds.

In fact you’ll find yourself capturing flags, dominating control points and even racking up kills in deathmatches - the sorts of experiences you’ve likely already had many times before. It’s not inventive, no, but it gives a very accessible format for newcomers to take on the MOBA style of play.

Unique, individually designed characters each replete with their own different passive and active abilities are still present. The system works the same as many MOBAs whereby the majority are locked out until you are able to afford the in-game currency to unlock them or fancy coughing up the cash to get them sooner.

There’s a decent mix of styles though, each fitting some particular concept or theme. From malevolent scientists to armored knights, there’s the entire spectrum of designs that aren’t especially creative, but at least help to give the game a personality that many similar games can’t.

Despite the colorful casts you’ll get in games like League Of Legends and Dota 2, the gameplay itself is presented in a very stoic, po-faced manner. Not so with Trans-Galactic Tournament, which utilzses a Saturday morning cartoon energy to create a more playful MOBA experience.

Part of that comes down to combat, which has been adapted to allow for controller friendly input. The majority fall into one of two camps: Area of Attack abilities centred on the player or targetable skillshots. The simplicity works and enough effort has been applied to ensure it’s clear what you’re using, how it’ll be used and when it’ll be available again.

That simplicity does come with a cost. Many characters feel similar in playstyle, limiting what ought to be a personally-driven decision making process. You might prefer to play as a George Washington-styled frog or a green-skinned, slobbering chef, but the difference rarely plays out in the actual mechanics.

Add in the fact that the game modes are more typical of FPS games than a MOBA and you’ll find Trans-Galactic Tournament lacking that necessary depth. It’s more of a 4v4 brawler than a MOBA, and there’s definitely a tangible sense of fun to garner from that - but it can only last so long.

Games are much quicker in Trans-Galactic Tournament than the contemporaries it is a based on, and as such there needed to be a greater set of maps to explore - the game isn’t about an eSports-level of obsession over map control, and so it falls just short of providing the range it needed.

The modes themselves don’t quite offer up enough distinction to make them feel especially complex or involved. The process is largely the same regardless of the game type you’re playing: spawn into the map, follow your allies into battle and attempt to gain an advantage.

In most cases players will ignore the flag or capture points entirely simply to hunt down kills and increase their own sense of gratified glory. This is starting to sound more like an FPS than MOBA than ever before, right?

There is some further depth to character development, however, which adds a dash of strategy. Training allows you to purchase passive stat boosts to your character in a fashion not dissimilar to League Of Legends' Rune Pages or Talents.

You can equip different weapons, too, which alters the way you might want to play. Perhaps you’ll opt for health regeneration over damage output, or improve the damage of your favorite ability by a certain percentage instead of reducing the energy cost of a different one altogether.

The choices are fairly minor but there’s enough there for you to consider as you prepare for the next battle. Don’t confuse this for any kind of deep item build strategy - and you’ll not likely consider the decisions your opponents are making - but it’s a welcome feature all the same.

But then that’s the problem with Trans-Galactic Tournament. It’s commendable to simplify the MOBA experience when bringing the game over to console - in a way that Awesomenauts managed with great success - but in doing so it has lost that sense of personal strategy and complexity that keeps players coming back for more.

There’s no denying that TGT is a fun, well-crafted multiplayer title. Its blend of playful characters and visuals with simplified mechanics and a sense of variety - however limited - makes for a solidly entertaining game.

But it simply doesn’t have the clout that will make it a worthwhile investment. It’s free to download and play and for that alone it’s worth checking out.

It’s unlikely that there will be a consistent crowd playing Trans-Galactic Tournament. Even now the servers are quiet, and unless more depth is added into the game at a later date it’s likely they won’t get much busier.

Verdict: No