Quantum League is an FPS where timing matters more than your aim. This arena shooter gives players a chance to work with their past and future selves in order to take down opponents and score big.
Literally shooting each other in an arena doesn’t necessarily make Quantum League an arena shooter, per se, as Quantum League uses time and its paradoxical states as a primary weapon instead of giving each character its own powers. Each one of the six character choices is different in appearance only and starts with a choice from one of five primary weapons. Regardless of your weapon choice, the gameplay is all about the time loop and you either fight against it or learn to bend it to your will and begin to understand the intricacies of its clever mechanics.
Each match in Quantum League consists of three-cycle rounds. Each cycle is a 15-second chance for you to complete an objective, whether it’s desyncing all opponents or capturing a capture point. After each cycle, time rewinds and you play the next cycle, until you’ve played all three. That is, of course, unless you yourself were desynced and you managed to kill the first assailant in the loop, creating a paradox and shifting the outcome of the cycle.
If you happen to get desynced then you will temporarily play as a ghost that could come back to life the next cycle if you manage to off the clone that killed you. You can also become corporeal again if you manage to snag a health orb and revitalize yourself, but only until that cycle ends. All of these clones of your enemies and you are battling in an additive time loop. Even though there’s only fifteen seconds per cycle, there’s a lot of bullets flying around from all of these versions of yourselves. What’s even worse is that there’s also friendly fire on to keep you from spamming heavy weapons or just blindly firing around; when it comes down to it, you have to get everything right for the last cycle, because that’s where all your effort comes together.
There’s a lot of variety in the five weapons Quantum League offers. You can only pick one per cycle, but they each have their pros and cons. The rifle and laser beam each provide long-range attack power, while the SMG and shotgun make close encounters a ballet of skill-based shots. The grenade launcher opens up an opportunity to deliver some instant-kill shots, but only if you figure out the trajectories of its bouncing grenades, and sometimes get really lucky with the splash damage. If you happen to find yourself needing to reload, the backup pistol that comes with every load-out can help get you out of a sticky situation.
There are nine separate arena layouts offered — most being night versions of the others — but they more or less stick to symmetrical designs, allowing easy-to-spot patterns of your foes based on the terrain you had to travel to get to them. Accents like explosive barrels and jump pads vary from stage to stage but can be quite useful if you know how to use them properly. Explosive barrels can be detonated at any time during the cycles, so you could activate one with a stray bullet that might catch you or your opponent off-guard. Jump pads give you extra verticality and make traversing around the arena’s multi-leveled designs even faster.
The chaotic nature of this time-loop gameplay is the matter of adding more complexity. Some of the outcomes may seem predictable but a simple success or mistake can change everything for either team. With the ability to play with a teammate and fight against a potential six-person team on the last cycle in which each player has the ability to desync and come back to life and the various possibilities of paradoxes, there’s a lot to process.
A slick, futuristic art style compliments the eccentrically animated characters to offer a visual treat that will keep you coming back for more. With so much variety between weapons and the time loops, every match feels different and provides the opportunity to expand your strategy and try new things. Quantum League is a fun and frantic cerebral shooter, but only time will tell if it becomes the success story it deserves to be.
Quantum League is available now in Early Access on Steam.