“INSIDIA” screencap. Courtesy of Bad Seed.

Austin Suther, Contributing Writer

Despite the oversaturation of the multiplayer online battle arena [MOBA] genre, “INSIDIA” takes what works best in games like “League of Legends” and “Dota 2” and adds another layer of strategy, incorporating a turn-based grid system.

“INSIDIA,” currently in Early Access on Steam, is a free-to-play multiplayer title developed by Italian company Bad Seed. It features a cast of characters with a select set of abilities who fulfill different roles. Battles are quick and competitive as two players go head-to-head in attempts at destroying the team’s base.

The player can choose from a pool of ten characters to make their team of four. One can expect characters such as the bearded, dwarf-like Gunther and Infestus, a man resembling what a plague doctor would look like in the “Mad Max” universe. The characters are all amusing to look at, and each one has three abilities – an active, passive and ultimate – which appropriately reflect their cartoon-y appearances.

Battles take place on a large map with a grid, a capture location in the middle and two bases on either side. The object of the game is to control the central capture location, thus destroying part of the enemy base, and then destroy the base to win. Because “INSIDIA” is turn-based, the player can select a character and move them on the map one at a time. While one character can be used during a single turn, during which their active and ultimate abilities can be initiated, unused characters have passive abilities which are triggered regardless of their location.

This is where the game shines. It has a rich strategy later that favors quick and smart thinking. Predicting the enemy’s movement is key to success. Victory will come down to who has effectively positioned their characters to maximize the effect of their passives, as well as determine the best time to attack head-on with active and ultimate abilities. The chain-reaction of abilities at the end of each turn, when done right, is satisfying and rewards precision.

The game does have some faults in its current state. The game only has a singular map which is fine, except being played repeatedly can get boring. The developers would do well to add new maps, since it could add to the strategy element effectively with different layouts. Further, “INSIDIA” is riddled with typos. The game features lore for every character, but the writing has a haphazard feel to it. The attempt to add lore into “INSIDIA” in its current state seems superfluous.

As for the soundtrack, it is filled with intense, punk guitar riffs and compliment the game’s post-apocalyptic theme. These are also good, but the song pool is limited and the loop in which they play seemed easy to pick out.

In its current state, inching closer to release, the game performs flawlessly on PC. There are no stuttering or graphical glitches to be seen. It runs at a solid 60 FPS, which is often a marvel for Early Access games. In short, it is optimized well.

“INSIDIA” is a promising new title in the strategy sphere. The game has a cohesive vision with plenty of strategy elements that mesh well together, from the MOBA-like characters to the unique simultaneous turns, it has potential. If the developers can work out its kinks and get a solid player-base, there is plenty of fun to be had.

“INSIDIA” is out of Early Access on Feb. 27, 2018 for free.