If you're new here, you might like to check the Reading List, which introduces some of the important concepts on this site.
  • Paragon, Part 1

    24th Apr, 2018By Softmints12 minutes

    The first lane-pushing game to experiment with the z-axis, Paragon introduces us to a variety of new takes on familiar 2.5D mechanics. It also flaunts some of the best graphics of its era: a rare treat in the lane-pushing genre!

    During its early days, Paragon's gameplay took place on a map known at the time as Agora. A year later, the battleground changed to a new map and associated features called Monolith. We'll be examining both in detail.

  • Master X Master

    20th Jan, 2018By Softmints10 minutes

    Jack of all trades and master of few, Master X Master is a playfully presented game with lots of modes, features, and character customisation options to tinker with.

    Among its many modes is a 5v5 lane-pushing battle called Titan Ruins, which will be the main focus of this review. The game has been announced to close for the last time on 31st January 2018, so if you haven't taken it for a spin yet, head on over to the official site while you have the chance.

  • Keys of Sealing

    3rd Aug, 2017By Softmints9 minutes

    Keys of Sealing is a rare example of an AoS whose gameplay is formally divided into stages: imposing a structured path to victory rather than the blurred lines of "early-game", "mid-game", and "late-game". It also has a special victory condition that is more teamfight-oriented than the familiar "destroy the main base".

    In this review I'm going to cover features from both early and later versions together, as there aren't too many differences.

  • Ultimate War, Part 2

    19th May, 2016By Softmints5 minutes
    We continue from Part 1, exploring hero design, obelisks, and deities.
  • Ultimate War, Part 1

    12th May, 2016By Softmints7 minutes
    A chaotic co-op survival, where three lanes swarm with over a hundred varieties of demons.
  • Overdrive

    17th Mar, 2016By Softmints8 minutes

    Overdrive is one of those AoS maps which delivers a surprising amount of emergent gameplay by introducing a single twist.

    The twist in question is using the Overdrive mechanic from Final Fantasy X to give heroes their ultimates, rather than the usual method of granting them at level 6 and having lengthy cooldowns.

  • Scars of War

    28th Jan, 2016By Softmints8 minutes

    Scars of War (Skar, 2009-2011) is an unusual combination of a relatively recent map using 2005-era scripting. It draws loose inspiration from DotA, and is mostly comprised of minor to moderate twists on familiar ideas. The map includes more features than it needs, and many of them aren't integrated well, but among the clutter lie a few interesting concepts.

  • Desert of Exile

    12th Nov, 2015By Softmints9 minutes

    Comfortably one of the most refined AoS experiences in the genre, Desert of Exile is 6v6 map built on the premise that simple, elegant systems can produce complex and engaging gameplay when their parts are allowed to interact.

    It is the first AoS to adopt this philosophy seriously, and it is executed with confidence and discipline. There are no half-baked systems, nor any peripheral mechanics that don't quite tie in with the rest.

  • AoS Sunken Ruins

    3rd Sep, 2015By Softmints8 minutes

    In a world of mobas which are aiming for the skies, it's nice to see a project that executes well with a smaller scope. I was recently introduced to AoS Sunken Ruins (Quillraven, 2008-2010), which manages to provide a surprisingly complete AoS experience despite having less heroes, items, and supplementary mechanics than its peers.

    The simplicity of the map objectives, and transparency of gold-spending options make Sunken Ruins a game to be played, rather than solved.

  • Sins of a Dark Age

    23rd Jul, 2015By Softmints7 minutes

    Early in its development cycle, Sins of a Dark Age was reportedly going to merge the genres of RTS and MOBA to create something greater than the sum of its parts.