As is custom with the introduction of a new genre, there comes a plethora of people wanting to hop on the bandwagon to claim their stake in the uncharted territories of gaming. With the introduction of Overwatch, a team-based FPS with MOBA elements, companies are seeing the untapped market that was always there but never really noticed. Overwatch doesn't bring anything particularly new to the table, but it did garner a lot of attention to it.
It's this scenario that makes it very hard to see Jeklynn Heights as anything other than yet another Overwatch-clone. Considering the fact that I'm heavily biased against Early Access games, as they can be easily exploited, Jeklynn Heights hardly left much of an impression on me when I joined the empty server. The first thing that screamed “Early Access” to me was the very limited amount of characters. In fact, there are only three characters that each fit nicely into the generic Tank, DPS, and Support roles.
Despite the flaws, Jeklynn Heights is an ideal example of how to utilize Early Access correctly.
Oh, don't get me wrong, the actual gameplay is par for the course (with the exception of objectives changing every couple of minutes instead of lasting the whole game), but the polish it's been given is so well done that it's astounding that Vex Studios was able to make this work without having bugs and delays upon delays at every turn. The care and fun the developers had as they made each and every aspect of Jeklynn Heights shines so proudly from the art style, the gameplay, and even the narration that it's hard to even criticize how it's the primary of any team-based MOBA.
In fact, upon reflection, I had so much fun playing the very simplest of challenges in the short time I played that I didn't even care how little there was to do until it was over. Was it a feeling of disappointment that my experience with Jeklynn Heights was so short? Did I feel a crushing despair as I realized I would have to wait patiently for more content? Is it perhaps my own flaws of being unable to correctly think of ways to improve the game, as I found the very simplistic amount easy to grasp in the heat of the moment when the small amount of players on each team were battling it out?
These questions, which inevitably leads to an end result of desiring more, a thirst to see where this game is headed.
What is the lore? What are the new characters? What are the motivations behind each of them?
And I haven't even touched on the fact that the developers were in the game, playing and talking with the few other people invited. Imagine my surprise when I see employees of Vex Studios talking about tweaks that could be made to the game, as well as the usual shit-talking that happens in every competitive game ever. It's like if Riot Studios' employees played League of Legends...but actually played decently and knew what the community was talking about.
With this combination of polished graphics and detailed game mechanics, Jeklynn Heights is quite outstanding for the unoriginal Overwatch clone it appears to be, but as always with Early Access, it's highly possible that I'll be eating my words as more and more content is added. As it stands now, the lack of variety provides terrible methods of countering opponents with which role to play. For example, the character Weasel is a dual role, switching between shooting offensive attacks as well as laying traps for the enemy and the support role of healing friendly players, increasing their speed them up or slowing enemies down. A team that has two or three Weasel players would be unstoppable, keeping each other's health up while focusing on completing the current objective.
I would very much like to see what new characters come from this and what kinds of strategies and dealing with a growing amount of objectives that uniquely string together during the course of the game, but as it stands now I wouldn't recommend Jeklynn Heights solely due to the $15.00 attached. Despite all the positives that I experienced, there's hardly enough substance to justify that price, but the possibilities that can come from this has definitely earned my attention as I curiously watch it grow.