Time manipulation is a sci-fi concept that really feels out there. It’s not like watching superheroes with some incredible strength or ridiculous speed, instead, it has that element of being oddly believable somehow. Whilst many mediums have placed the efforts of time travel into film or games over the years, with Quantum Break being the most memorable highlight of recent times, we haven’t seen everything yet. Here looking to put a bit of a twist on things is FPS title Lemnis Gate, and if online arena shooters are your jam, then Lemnis Gate is calling to you.
Each game consists of players fighting off in either 1v1 solo battles or 2v2 team battles with several 2v2 options available. Each match is split over two halves like your typical Call of Duty title, and each half of a game awarding players five turns each, with each turn lasting 25 seconds, and depending on the type of battle selected, each turn being played in a traditional turn-based fashion or via simultaneous play with your opponent.
As you progress through your turns, the actions of the previous turns are played out alongside what you are currently doing ensuring the need to be vigilant at all times whilst planning around what your opponent is doing and acting on it in a prompt fashion as to avoid defeat whilst removing opposing characters from play. It sounds more complicated than it really is and once you’re in the swing of things, the game of tactics can begin, although you’ll have to be quick as 25 seconds is much quicker than you’d expect and a round can fly by before you’ve really made much of an impact at all.
Throughout each game, players must utilise the skills and abilities of the various available heroes to eliminate the opponent, as well as utilise the scout drone to come out on top in your chosen game mode. The heroes available are essentially different class-type options with an assault based character toting a rifle and some grenades, as well as an engineer who packs a punch courtesy of a shotgun and the option to place turrets, another who works with teleportation and poison dispensers. Also, there is a destructive rocketeer complete with death-inducing mines, another individual who slows time and cracks skulls with a sniper rifle, and a robot who deploys shields and packs a beam rifle amongst the options.
Within each turn, players are given the opportunity to deploy one of the available heroes, essentially turning Lemnis Gate into an FPS/RTS hybrid sci-fi experience. With each hero you deploy, your opponent deploys one too, and you’ll need to eliminate the opposing heroes as quickly as possible if you want a chance of winning. It’s a lot to think about, but it’s ingenuity at its finest and it’s certainly nice to see something new and refreshing brought to the FPS genre.
Now it would be nice to know what’s going on a little. Why are you eliminating your opponent? Well that’s a good question, whilst there is a brief tutorial to take you through things, it certainly isn’t quite as telling as it should be, and with no obvious story to note, it’s essentially a ‘because you can’ situation. That said, the gameplay does help take away the sudden realisation that you don’t actually have a good reason to be doing any of this courtesy of the fast-paced, competitive, and unrelenting nature of play.
Although the key to any FPS game is to eliminate enemies, the manner in which you go about it and the experience that is had doing so can often tie in with the game mode you choose. Lemnis Gate keeps things simple with game modes including Deathmatch, Domination, Seek & Destroy and Retrieve XM.
Deathmatch is of course a self-explanatory game mode to anyone who has played any competitive shooter ever, so that doesn’t need any explanation. Domination is also as you’d expect with players competing to capture specific areas. Seek & Destroy tasks players with destroying their opponents’ resistors over a five-round period, and Retrieve XM sets players out to collect exotic matter whilst preventing their opponents from collecting this very same matter, with the winner the one who has the most come exotic matter at the end of five rounds.
Playing local multiplayer with a friend is an option within Lemnis Gate; however, the real thrill of a tactical battle comes online, in which gameplay really excels, especially with quick rounds forcing you into sudden decisions out of nowhere and no way to watch what your opponent is doing until it has already begun, therefore costing you valuable time should you stand around to observe.
That said, the game isn’t a perfect outing and with gunplay feeling a little clunky and maps feeling a little bland in design, not to mention the rather basic game modes on offer, things could be improved upon further. But whilst I would love to see things smoothed out a little whilst handling my weapons, and some more colour, life, and vibrancy to the maps I’m playing on, the criticisms aren’t to be taken as a huge issue as Lemnis Gate is indeed enjoyable to play if you’re a fan of tactical battles.
One feature that feels almost entirely pointless is the XP levelling system. Whilst levelling rarely has an impact on gameplay in online shooters, the only obvious purpose within this title is to progress through skill trees, and whilst some unlocks such as new weapons are possible, the most common unlock will be of the cosmetic variety, whilst the new weapons are nothing spectacular and make the whole system feel very unnecessary.
Back to the positives though and visually, I have to say I’m impressed with what this indie hit has to offer. The maps do feel a little bland and can look a bit dull on occasion, but that’s not to say the quality isn’t there, with blame instead laying with the lack of variety rather than any visual issue, with the overall look of things being up there with some of the finest games in 2021.
As for the sound, I didn’t really notice much of an audio experience. Sure weapons sound as you would hope for a sci-fi shooter, and the thud of bullets is always present, not to mention the footsteps that fill your headphones as you run about the match, but there is nothing here that really changes the audio experience from something such as the aforementioned Call of Duty online experience, and whilst that isn’t a bad thing, it would have been nice to have had some mood-setting music or something in the background – or maybe that would take away from the tactical seriousness, who knows? But for me, there wasn’t enough that really stood out, but it certainly functions.
Of course, if you are someone who likes to keep an eye on new Game Pass entries, it doesn’t take much to see that Lemnis Gate is one of the recent Day One additions to the service, finding players, even with the cross-play option, is something that can take a bit of time but be patient and you’ll have a blast. The gameplay quality is definitely no reason for a lack of players, although it may be a sign of what’s to come with big triple-A shooters inbound.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.