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Rocket Arena: Nexon's new free-to-play shooter from ex-Halo developer

What if there was a competitive first person, arena shooting where no one died? It is the question that inspired Rocket Arena a new rocket-only shooter from Final Strike Games, a Bellevue, Washington-based developer founded by former members of Halo Studio 343 Industries and Nexon.

Rocket Arena takes death from deathmatch, removes headshots and juicy gibs of games like Quake 3 Arena and replaces them with child-friendly Super Smash Bros.-style knockouts. It is a colorful three-on-three game that is popular with cute, optimal characters who duel each other on fantasy-inspired maps. Much about Rocket Arena vaguely reminds one of something else: It looks like a chunky, stylized Blizzard game; its hero characters look ripped from a Dreamworks Animation movie; and its modes feel inspired by popular multiplayer games like Overwatch Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.

I played some Rocket Arena earlier this week in Advance of the game's beta launch on May 23. It comes to the Windows PC and the Xbox One ̵

1; a PlayStation 4 version depends later – and the publisher Nexon played it with platform games during our practical session. I was released to an island type map along with a couple of partners where we fought three other players in a game Knockout. Like Smash Bros. is the goal to build up your opponent's K.O. meters by shooting rockets in them, putting them in danger of a knockout, a closing movement that launches them high up in the sky.

Izell throws his ball
Final Strike Games / Nexon

Combat is powered by rockets, and each character has its own specific type of ammunition. Ice-themed Kayi launches loaded bolts, while the water-based Amphora fires torpedo-style rockets and jungle warriors Izell fires spears. Characters have alternative firearms: Kayi can launch a protective snowman that delays incoming rockets, Amphora can start bouncing mines, and Izell can throw a lonely bola. Most characters in Rocket Arena also have a motion-focused ability, such as a dash, teleport or grip hook. In fact, movement is the key to survival, and Rocket Arena allows players to double jump, triple jump and rocket jump to get around quickly.

Other game modes focus on targets that are not specific to knockouts (although they are still tactically important, because a KO takes an opponent out of the game for a moment). A football-like position called Rocketball draws points with points by running or throwing a ball in the opponents' goal. The Megarocket requires teams to capture points in the form of very large rockets. Both modes can become quite hectic, as players struggle to complete goals while throwing dozens of rockets around the battle zone.

While much about Rocket Arena may feel distracting, Strike Games ends a deserved genre: child-friendly shooters. Interested players can try out free gambling games that start next week through a closed beta. Sign up for Nexon's official website for a chance to play.

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