All Hail Reindog, MultiVersus’ Loveable Mascot
MultiVersus' core appeal is in its collection of characters. True, it seems to have been more lovingly recreated than Nickelodeon Brawl with more depth to each character's interaction and an interesting teamwork gimmick, but these all build on the overall hype conjured up by juicy, juicy IP. This is a game where Tom & Jerry can team up with Batman to beat up Arya Stark and Bugs Bunny, and regardless of how good it is underneath all that, it's this colourful cast that is going to get people in the door. That's why Reindog seems like such an odd choice. But here's the thing: I love Reindog, and he's secretly one of MultiVersus' best assets.
In the recent closed beta, around half the final cast were available to use in Training modes, but only half of that half were available in other modes. The remaining characters in the game must be unlocked through victories and challenges to earn virtual coins. Right now, there's no way to buy these coins with real money, but there almost certainly will be in the real game. Given that it's free to play, I can't really begrudge the game charging you for characters and skins, especially when the game provides the framework to earn these for free as well.
Still, I was immediately disheartened when a few of us at TheGamer played online together. I could not be Arya Stark, nor Wonder Woman, nor Garnet. I could be Harley Quinn and Velma, and thus played as them almost exclusively because I choose fighters based on vibes first and foremost, and technical ability and playstyle second. Taz, too, had great vibes and earned himself a spot in my regular picks. But there's just something enchantingly pure about Reindog.
While the game is built on the crossover appeal of seeing Harley Quinn wallop Steven Universe with a mallet, Reindog is a completely original character. The creature (part dog, part reindeer, all green for some reason) is essentially MultiVersus' mascot. In many ways, he offers the best evidence of the love, craft, and trust behind this game. Warner Bros. has a stacked cast of characters in its arsenal, and as the recent Space Jam movie proved, is not opposed to just mashing them all together in an orgy of capitalism. And yet with limited roster space, a slot has been kept free for the loveable little Reindog.
Reindog is unassuming and endearingly loveable, sporting a dull, sweet grin and all the charm of a new, well behaved puppy. Though it's meant to be part reindeer and part dog, it has none of the grace and poise of the reindeer, but instead all of the irresistible stupidity of a dog. Rather than just a lazy collection of characters, Reindog typifies the love behind the scenes for this game, the desire to include their own creation to make a mark on the Warner Bros. legacy. Great fighter games are known by their mascots, be they Jin or Ryu or Sub-Zero. These crossover fighters usually miss out on this, but thanks to Reindog, they don't have to. Also, thanks to Reindog's status as a Support character and its ability to tether to its teammate, it also best captures the unique gimmick at the heart of MultiVersus. Reindog isn't just an afterthought, but the very game seems to be built around what it has to offer.
I'm still going to mainly stick to Harley, Taz, and, once I unlock her, Arya, but Reindog is so much more interesting than just adding in another Looney Tune or DC superhero in a desperate attempt to make this game a lock. Reindog is a product of love, and it deserves our love in return.
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