Released late last month in Early Access, Quantum League is an arena-based shooter that sees players fight to gain the upper hand by manipulating the flow of time. The project is based in an alternate universe where this new competitive time-travelling sport has become an international phenomenon. It's certainly an interesting concept for sure, but is it worth checking out at this stage in Early Access?
The action in Quantum League is contained within three 18 second time loops. Once a loop has ended, clones will appear mirroring the same actions your team and your opponent's previously carried out. Following the initial round, it's up to you to eliminate your opponents and protect your past clones, as their actions can be completely erased if killed. The key is to remain alert and plan out your actions in the fleeting time available, as you can easily find yourself gunned down if you get too distracted focusing on previous clones.
Getting shot in the face here isn't fatal and instead, you are deactivated when your health is depleted, which forces you to roam the map like an angry spirit until you can snag yourself a health orb. These health orbs are scattered across the battle arena and it's in your best interest to ensure that they are snatched up so your opponents can't rise from the grave.
Combat can feel a little overwhelming at first with so many clones dashing across the arena but things did eventually click for me after practising how to manage those precious seconds. The time-travelling shooting concept functions beautifully and it never gets old watching the concluding replays where each clone's run is played out in conjunction.
Players have a whole arsenal of weapons at their disposal and these can be freely switched between during matches, allowing for strategic flexibility. The grenade launcher and sniper rifle can be used to pick foes off from afar, and the shotgun and SMG are solid choices for close-quarters combat. I do wish, however, that the sniper rifle had a scope to allow for greater precision, and I found myself avoiding the laser beam due to its limited impact.
In its current Early Access state, Quantum League has two modes available and these can be played either 1v1 or 2v2 on both Casual and Ranked servers. In Point Capture, you earn points by having at least one of your clones standing on the objective by the end of the final loop. Teams need three points to win here, and it feels as though the tide could be turned at any minute as one rogue grenade blast can destroy all the clones you've positioned. Free For All plays like your typical deathmatch mode as the objective is simply to desync as many clones as possible, with three points again required for victory.
With no mode selection currently in place, however, I found myself playing Point Capture almost every match. When we did eventually get into a round of Free For All it always took place on the same map, which was a little disappointing as we found the mode to be an enjoyable change of pace. The offering of just two modes does also feel meagre but the title's Early Access page does state that 'crazier game modes' will be coming in future.
Another issue that we encountered was that it would often take three or four minutes just to get into some modes, which is actually longer than some matches last. This was surprisingly even the case in 1v1 matches where just one other player is required to participate. It may improve over time as the project inches its way towards a full release, but as Quantum League doesn't feature any offline modes (besides training) it's something to be aware of.
It may not be brimming with content just yet, but Quantum League still manages to leave a bold first impression due to its unique take on the competitive shooter genre. It pushed us to make the most of every second and recovery always felt within our grasp, as each action could have a direct impact on the proceeding time loops. Be sure to keep an eye out for our full review when Quantum League launches sometime in 2020 on Nintendo Switch and PC.