The free-to-play competitive FPS market is heating up all the time, and this year has revealed a number of new studios who aren’t afraid to jump into the fray. Among the old faithfuls like Fortnite, Warzone, and Apex Legends, there are newcomers that include the likes of XDefiant, Off The Grid, and The Division Heartland.
With all of that competition, you would think it might be hard to stand out and make a name for yourself. Especially when the price of admission is not just low, but free. However, I got to spend some time with a little game called World Boss. Not only does it stand out from all of its bombastic contemporaries, it has a gravitational pull that made me pretty much unable to put it down.
Let’s take a look at it in this review.
Who Are the World Bosses?
World Boss is a free-to-play, competitive shooter and “.io style” game. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of playing Agar.io (which I believe might be the inception for the genre) or its ilk, you’ll know that the .io entails gameplay mechanics that are easy to pick up and run with combined with seamless online multiplayer.
Before I get into how all of that works in World Boss, let’s talk about who made it because I think that point is pretty significant. World Boss is the product of a collaboration of two YouTubers, LazarBeam and Fresh, as well as PlaySide Studios who developed/published the game. From what I could tell, the Australian YouTubers helped the Sydney-based PlaySide Studios in a consulting capacity, but it’s not clear how much of the game was actually their idea. There are DLC packs that feature cosmetics that represent each of them, however.
With all of that out of the way, how did World Boss turn out?
How It All Works
The way World Boss is structured is actually pretty interesting.
Visually, it’s extremely simple. Another one of the tenets of the .io genre is simplistic graphics, so what we have in World Boss are bright colors and relatively textureless models. That’s not to say that the game is boring to look at, however. All of the characters have a certain amount of charm (especially once you can begin customizing skins), and the areas of the map I saw were intricately designed and very intriguing. I even got lost a few times in the many winding corridors I came across, which kind of added to the thrill. Is somebody going to be around the next corner? Probably!
Unlike other competitive shooters where a match can last anywhere from a few minutes to many minutes depending on how good all of the players are, World Boss just… kind of keeps going.
14 players jump into a massive, labyrinthian map full of different biomes and plenty of ideal ambush points, and then they battle it out for the top spot. Every kill that is scored, a level is awarded that gives you a skill point. Those skill points can then be spent on skills that will slowly form your character’s build, and the game’s marketing promises that there are “millions” of possible builds you could make. I’m not sure how true that is because I mostly prioritized health capacity, regeneration, and gem pickups, but I saw people with jetpacks, triple jumps, and all kinds of other awesome skills.
After a certain amount of time passes, the player with the most kills becomes the “World Boss”, meaning they get a boost and have the ability to bring the match to a close by corrupting the server. However, being the World Boss also means that you show up on everyone’s radar, effectively putting a target on your back. Thanks to the “life system”, you can only take so many kills before your level reverts back to 1, and you have to climb your way back up all over again.
In the several hours I played of World Boss, I never saw a match end. You jump right into a match already in progress, and everyone just goes and goes. I thought this arrangement was interesting, and I think the game feels really fun to play, so I didn’t even notice that I never even saw a lobby or waiting screen till a little while after. If I didn’t have other things to do, I could easily see World Boss consuming my time.
Forming Your Own Opinions
If Steam reviews are to be believed, World Boss is neither here nor there in terms of quality. It has a “Mixed” rating on the only platform you can play it on, and that made me take a step back before I got into it. I took the time to read all the way through a handful of reviews, and the ones that weren’t outright trolling or memes brought up some valid points. I had to play the game for myself to see how it all landed with me though, so I installed it and jumped right in.
And let me tell you, I’m not sure I agree with those Steam reviews.
The complaints about unbalance and the World Boss seeming overpowered I understand, but… I also feel like that’s kind of the point of the game. The World Boss should be a force of nature that’s difficult to quell, otherwise the game would have been titled something else. Am I saying this because I absolutely stomped my way to World Boss status with 12 kills and no deaths in my very first match? Perhaps, but the point still stands.
I think the game would benefit from some extra polish and balance, but it’s also intoxicatingly fun to play in its current incarnation. There are microtransactions for you to engage in if that’s your thing, but the standard gameplay doesn’t really ask anything of you to require spending the extra money.
I’d say that if you’re getting burnt out on Fortnite or any of the other competitive shooters and you’re looking for something new that isn’t too different, then World Boss is probably right up your alley. You can download the game and play it through Steam right now.