Keeping a multiplayer game balanced is the key to it being an enjoyable experience for all players. When one team gets an advantage over the other through the mechanics and rules of the game, nobody can truly enjoy it. Good news for DeathGarden is that it is being developed by Behaviour Digital Inc, the same team that brought the ever popular Dead by Daylight killer verse survivors style game. This time they aimed for a whole new style of the one verse many, player verse player game.
DeathGarden is a fast paced, one hunter verse five runners style game that takes place on procedurally generated maps. Using the classic base-capture objective mixed with the arena escape for the runners to win the match while the hunter player does everything they can to take them down, this game proved to be well made with a small issue.
Hunters are given a machine gun and a shotgun, along with the ability to stun and run, for them to take down the runners. While there is a team of five, the objective to win only requires three runners to be killed. While a hunter can down players with their weapon, there are only two ways to kill them: let them bleed out from being downed, which uses the same meter even if it is the second or third time they were downed, or unlock the use of the death machine and activating the execute on the contraption once the player is placed in it.
Runners have the choice of arrow types. Whether you want to be able to shoot a revive to a fallen ally that's too far but within range or have bolts that can stun and slow down the hunter for a quick escape, there is a class for you. You have to find upgrade parts around the map and then the upgrade post in order to unlock these special bolts though. Initially you are given regular bolts that have no effect on the hunter, but are good for marking important items.
The goal is the game is for either the runner to capture two of the three posts and escape. At least three runners must escape in order for them to win. If the hunter successfully kills three runners, they automatically win.
I mentioned before that the game has a small issue. While I was having trouble pinpointing what was off about the game at first, I found the answer is on the balance. Most of the time it felt too easy for the hunter with only five runners that can barely affect him most of the time while some matches it seemed unfair for there to be five runners that can fight back against the hunter. That being said, I thing the issue could be fixed by giving the runners an easier way to unlock their tools and the hunter a way to block or negate the effects of certain attacks. There are a lot of locked upgrade options and that could very well contain the tools I'm talking about to help balance the system.
I also don't understand the matchmaking waiting room. It's obviously a small chunk of the pre-game load on area with most of it blocked off. They should open that up and fill it with blocks for a large obstacle course and put a target range on the black wall that blocks the launch window. The small, dark room with little space seemed like a bad choice when players would like to practice the controls and mechanics of the game before actually being in one.
I would hope to see multiple game modes and interactions to provide a variety of game styles, skills, and matches between players.
DeathGarden is a lot of fun and brings a whole new aspect of player versus player games as they take what is usually a slow paced game with high intensity moments into a face paced, action war field. There are obviously a few tweaks and changes left for the game up be at the best it can be, but it started off with an amazing first step! I will be keeping my eye on further updates and hopefully playing an open beta in the future.