Battlerite Royale seemed like a goof when Stunlock first announced its existence several months back. I'd just been telling friends about how with Fortnite and PUBG's success, every dame was going to now make a Battle Royale... and then along came Battlerite and so many others. Some have blown up big and then sort of petered out (like Realm Royale, for example). But others have found a modicum of success like Cuisine Royale and Last Tide. The ones that stick? They tend to offer something more than just another 100 person shooter.
And frankly? The first one to offer something truly unique is Battlerite Royale.
For starters, BRR isn't a shooter. It's a top-down skill-based action game. Think about popular Action RPGs, you use WASD to move and most special abilities have to be timed or targeted to be effective. It's not a click-to-move MOBA, but rather lends itself really well to both keyboard and controller-based gameplay.
Secondly, BRR has heroes to control, like its parent game Battlerite. You level up each individually, getting cosmetic rewards for them as you do as well as lootbox type cosmetic caches too. Each hero plays vastly different from others, so a skilled player of one may suck with another, and so forth. It also means that balance between heroes is going to be hotly debated going forward.
BRR isn't 100 people in a giant arena either. It's a smaller, but no less varied map, and the max player count is 30 as of right now in Early Access. The base price for the game in EA is $19.99, but it will be Free to Play for all at launch if you'd rather wait. I'm also curious to see if Stunlock is wise and already planning on console versions, as there's little doubt that it could be a hit on PS4/XB1, and Switch.
You also have mounts in BRR, though they're merely for getting around faster and for looking cool - one more thing to collect through lootboxes as the title uses the monetization system of Overwatch. Leveling up, while something to work for as a prestige item, serves little purpose other than to get you new cosmetic loot. There's a leaderboard based on ELO ranking too, which is something a lot of folks will strive for. You can play solo or duo, against AI or against other humans.
There may be things that could make Battlerite Royale better - more map events, more heroes, more maps, and loads more content in general are planned during the EA period, but right now it feels good to see a Battle Royale game try to actively be different - and it's funny that it comes because a studio saw a reason to make their game into a Battle Royale without sacrificing what it was about. They hopped on the bandwagon to success, at least in terms of how fun this experiment is, and I hope it stands to reason that it continues.