Kill Strain is the latest entry from San Diego Studio that is pushing its way into an already packed genre. There are multiple highly popular MOBAs that have stayed popular for a reason. These MOBAs have a plethora of characters, items, strategies, and name recognition, as well as characters people can get behind. But all of these MOBAs do the same thing. They pit X number of players against X number of players on another team. These matches tend to range from 3v3 to 5v5.
And that’s the chink in the armor that Kill Strain seeks to exploit. Perhaps the biggest claim to uniqueness that Kill Strain has to offer, is the fact that it can boast something actually NEW to the table. Because with Kill Strain, we get matches consisting of 5v5v2*. Yes, that asterisk serves a purpose. Let me tell you about how Kill Strain is played, and why it’s going to turn the MOBA scene on its head.
In Kill Strain, players join one of three teams. The Yellow and the Blue team are your ordinary “bases” with players fighting off the other base. There’s no NPCs in this game, no mobs running down the lane. It’s just players and base defenses. However, what makes Kill Strain completely unique is that third faction. Where the Blue and Yellow teams start with up to 5 players each, there’s a third faction called the mutants. The mutant players don’t want EITHER team to succeed. Their objective is to turn enemy players into mutants, and thus gain more players for their team, and a strategic advantage. The two based-teams have to acquire ARCs in order to power up their mech suits, which essentially unlock siege capabilities, allowing the two teams to wear down the other team’s defences. Now, this is pretty par for the course in a MOBA, but the fact that there are (at first) two other players running around, changes things up a bit. Those two mutant players will be constantly looking for a weak point in either team. If a player from Yellow or Blue dies, then there’s a short amount of time that they can be physically dragged by a mutant player. If the mutant player can drag the yellow/blue player to a creep point, then that player becomes a mutant and can only see victory through the mutant faction winning.
First off, I’m going to state a very obvious fact. I don’t believe Kill Strain could ever become an Esport for the very reason of the mutant-player mechanic. It just doesn’t allow a team to work together towards a common goal if one or more of those players is getting turncoated.
What I DO think will happen with Kill Strain, is that it offers a very fun environment with various interesting characters, that a solo player would find enjoyable, because in Kill Strain, anything can happen.
Outside of the uniqueness of 5v5v2, players will experience a MOBA that still plays a bit differently than others. Like I said, there’s no NPCs on the map, so players have to do all the heavy lifting of base defense, base offence, and resource acquisition. Players will level up through the match and become stronger. There are also a number of character options to choose from. The characters could range from having a shotgun, to dual pistols, to an assault rifle, and they come with a various assortment of special abilities as well. The mutants are divided in purpose. One of the mutants I played, seemed more tanky (where he could absorb a lot more damage) while the other seemed more built for speed and a bit less durable. So there’s definitely some strategies that can be managed with team comp, whether it’s random, or intentional.
I really love what Kill Strain is doing, and I hope they go full speed ahead with the new feel that they are bringing gamers with their refreshing take on MOBAs. MOBAs have had a pretty standard playstyle for quite a while, and even though some of the other contenders have changed the nuances of the game, it’s nice to see it actually get turned on its head with the addition of a third faction of players. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how things turn out with Kill Strain.