Although it’s only just entering early access, I feel like I’ve been watching Superfuse for years. Any time a new ARPG is announced my ears prick up, especially when there’s one that does things a little differently. Usually there’s a fantasy theme, following the Diablo or Path of Exile template, and that’s fine – but it’s nice to see a different approach now and then.
For a start, Superfuse is a comic-book-style sci-fi adventure, eschewing ancient evil demon gods for some good old-fashioned corrupted space monsters. In Superfuse’s neon universe, multi-billionaires have found a way to cheat death and have become known as Gods. These individuals run the galaxy by fair means or foul (usually foul) and employ enhanced Enforcers to do their dirty work.
That’s where you come in. As either an Elementalist, Berserker, or Technomancer (with a fourth class soon to be added), your job is to travel from world to world fulfilling contracts on behalf of the Gods. Superfuse’s campaign brings you to Eros, a layover station for pilots, Enforcers, and general ne’er-do-wells in the grip of a mutating disease called the Corruption. Working with the people of Eros Town, your objective is to uncover the source of the Corruption and wipe it out.
Surprisingly for an early access RPG, Superfuse does have a complete campaign. It will only take you around 8 hours and doesn’t have a great deal of variety in terms of locales or enemies, but it does have a clear beginning and end which can be built on and expanded during the early access period.
There’s even an endgame section that sees you completing Contracts at various levels of risk and reward, on planets in our solar system. It’s not fleshed out enough yet, and requires a good deal of balancing and variation, but the fact that it’s already implemented gives you an indication of Stitch Heads’ dedication. This is a dev who knows the genre, and knows their audience.
I played through the early beta as the melee-focused Berserker, and so have been experimenting through the early access build with both the Elementalist and the new Technomancer. The latter resembles a young dude grafted to a huge set of mechanical legs, who wields the power of Metal (not musically, sadly) and can summon automatons to help in battle. It’s an interesting class, but not one that suits my play-style. I was never much for summon-heavy classes.
Instead I’ve spent the bulk of my time with the Elementalist. She’s able to wield Ice or Fire attacks, or a mix of both. Playing more defensively, I’ve been using mostly Ice abilities. These generally allow for some powerful melee attacks, a few ranged options, and some AoE abilities that stun or slow the enemy. Combat is the standard ARPG set-up of mowing through hordes of enemies while juggling cooldowns and spamming potions, in this instance called Boosters.
You equip up to four Boosters, such as Health, Energy, Speed, and Armour, and must refill them with charges. You’ll hoover up a literal ton of these things as you play, and you’ll need them, too. Superfuse currently has no way to directly alter your stats outside of equipping certain gear, and there’re so many stats to track.
Ideally, it needs a system where you can increase stats as you level like you can in Diablo. It allows for more build diversity and control, as at the moment if you’re not up for deciphering what each and every attribute and percentage does on a certain piece of armour, you won’t know if it’s of a real benefit. There’s more to Superfuse’s loot than just equipping the green numbers.
One thing you do have control over is your abilities. This is where Superfuse truly shines, allowing you to equip modifiers called Fuses to each of your unlocked skills. There’s a limit on how many you can equip at once, but the range of modifiers is genuinely staggering. From adding ricochet and homing effects to projectiles, to increasing the radius of AoE attacks, adding health and energy regen to hits and misses, extending the duration of buffs, or even lacing the attacks with different elements, there’s a ridiculous array of Fuses to find and unlock, some of which are class-specific. You could spend ages simply tweaking each skill with your collection of Fuses, before you even begin to min-max your colour-coded gear.
Back in Eros Town, a number of vendors will sell armour, weapons, Fuses, and Boosters, while you can change the colour of your equipped gear or gamble for rare, epic and legendary loot. Superfuse is simultaneously its own beast and a love letter to the genre as a whole, and the fact that it’s looking at a £25 price point at launch is another tick in the positives column.
It does need some balancing though. At present your survival is dependant on how quick you can spam the health and energy Boosters, and the mission areas feel too large and too samey. You’ll constantly find yourself mobbed by hordes of enemies, and there’s just not quite enough variety yet. You’ll be uncovering the map as you go, looking for the waypoint in each main area that will let you travel back and forth to town. You have a Portal Beacon item, which is essentially a town portal, but it doesn’t stay open if you log out and in again.
A multiplayer mode allows you to take your online heroes into games with friends (or strangers, I suppose) but I haven’t tested it much. I tend to play ARPGs solo as a preference, and at this point pre-early access, the servers aren’t highly populated. By the time it comes to the full launch and review, I’ll have tested it fully.
If Stitch Heads continue along this path with Superfuse through early access, they will almost certainly have a winner on their hands come the full launch. They understand the genre and know exactly what fans want from it – right now it just needs balancing and expanding. The aesthetic is cool and the universe is interesting, and the Fuse system is just fantastic. The cathartic thrill of looting and levelling is hamstrung a little by the sense of repetition, but it’s early days yet, and Superfuse has the potential to be a genuine hit.