The auto-battler is not a genre that we see much of on the Xbox. Pioneered on the PC with DOTA Auto Chess and then Teamfight Tactics, it’s not a type of game that necessarily feels like a snug fit on the Xbox. Or, at least, we guess that’s what game execs say, because we can’t see what’s stopping those games. We’d have lapped up a Teamfight Tactics on the big black box.
Beating them to the punch is Merge & Blade which, we should say upfront and make abundantly clear, is a Game Pass day-one game for you to download. If you have a subscription, there is very little reason not to give it a spin and see what the fuss is about.
Except Merge & Blade isn’t a pure auto-chess auto-battler. Are you ready for this? Merge & Blade is stirring in the ‘Merge’ genre, which is popular on mobile games. So, you start a game in the ‘Puzzle System’, where units drop from the top of the screen like a game of Tetris or Puyo Puyo, and you merge identical units together to make super-units that can obliterate your enemies with a single swing of the axe.
Once you have completed the Puzzle System part of the game, it’s onto the Battle System. Your newly conscripted army gets trundled over to CPU or player armies, where you take part in 25-vs-25 battles. Watch as your merged units take advantage of their increased power and steamroll your opponents without you having to do much at all. Well, you can tinker with formations and swap positions to capitalise on their weaknesses, but that’s about it.
Merge & Blade is a mash-up that couldn’t, shouldn’t work, but Steam reviews say otherwise. It’s sitting on Mostly Positive, indicating that the hybrid game-type might just work. And now it’s on Xbox.
A wee reminder that this is a Game Pass game, so subscribers have a low barrier to trying it out. For those who wish to purchase Merge & Blade, it is £8.39, which isn’t going to tip you over into the red.
We should also note that there is day-one DLC, should your Merge & Blade addiction get the better of you. You can pick up the Hero Character for Merge & Blade’s roguelike mode for £0.79 (£0.71 for the launch period) to give you a leg up. He also comes with a spangly tiara on his head too. Oooh.
The key features of Merge & Blade on Xbox and PC include:
- Puzzle System: This game is a puzzle that builds blocks that come down like Tetris, Hexa, and Puyo Puyo.
- Battle System: Battles are performed in real-time up to 25 v 25. In battles, formation is important, as well as each unit’s stats.
- Upgrade System: You can use gold from puzzles and battles to upgrade your base and units in your squad.
- Defense Mode: Survive from the endless monsters as long as you can with your squad you’ve grown.
- Versus Mode: Brag your puzzle skill in this local multi-player mode. You can even play with your friends who don’t have the game using Steam remote play.
- Challenge Mode: It’s another land only for the challenge mode. Make a new squad, and complete from start to finish at one go.
- Leaderboards: You can compete with other players with the defense mode score, etc.
Our review of Merge & Blade is on its way, should you want to wait for our verdict before venturing on to Game Pass to play it. For now, head to the Xbox Store and pick up an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S version of the game. It’s also on PC through Steam.
Merge and Blade is a fantasy puzzle game. You will engage in large-scale battles with monsters with your own squad which is made using merge mechanics. After a battle, you can recruit new units using merge mechanics. By proceeding with these puzzles and battles, you will retake the castles occupied by monsters. As you retake the castle one by one, your base and squad get stronger. Your journey will continue until retaking the last castle. But, even if you retake the last castle, your journey won’t completely end. There are endless invading monsters that you have to hold off. You can battle with your friends or can save the world again with another strategy. Are you ready to save this world?