Arena of Valor on Nintendo Switch is a By-the-Book MOBA – But That’s No Bad Thing

The fact that Arena of Valor doesn’t break the mold for MOBAs isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Switch.

The formerly mobile-only MOBA from Tencent Games, Arena of Valor is making a splash as the first of its kind on the Nintendo Switch. From my time with the closed beta, it’s clear that this game will serve its purpose effectively, but won’t necessarily push any boundaries. With loads of heroes to choose from, a varied amount of game modes, and accessible play, Arena of Valor will serve will to please MOBA veterans and first timers alike.

Taking to the battlefield

The closed test provided a great look into what will come with the launch of the full game. You have a tonne of heroes to choose from, with varied roles like support, tank, and ranged characters. Choose your game mode through select 5v5, 3v3, and 1v1 game modes. Distinct maps are playable for each particular mode, and while the route to take might change, the goal is the same. Attack the enemy towers to access the core, while protecting your own, and eventually destroy the core to achieve victory. In 3v3 and 1v1 game modes, the maps are smaller and the number of towers are lowered, but the core remains the goal.

Arena of Valor is a straightforward MOBA that doesn’t hide much beneath the surface. You have your typical three-lane approach, with places to hide and non-player enemies to kill for buffs. It’s a simple yet polished take on the genre, and due to that, it’s much more accessible and enjoyable experience for players without hours of time spent with MOBAs.

The game runs extremely well on the Switch, and I rarely had any hiccups or lag during my playtime which lead to a smooth and engaging combat. The varied heroes, while not out of the ordinary, have fun and unique abilities, and with the mapping of the Joy-Con controllers, you feel much more in control of your character than you would on a mobile device.

Beauty in simplicity

Arena of Valor boils the MOBA down to its most basic of rules and is rewarded for that effort. It’s not flashy, and it’s not over the top. As someone who seldom delves into these types of games, I found myself enjoying each individual skirmish and game. While I don’t really believe games like League of Legends or DOTA 2 to be overly complicated, it certainly feels nice to play Arena of Valor and not feel overwhelmed. And even better than that: not feeling bored. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t dabbled with a MOBA in a while, but I think it also has to do with the fact the Arena of Valor is well crafted, fun, and precise.

Looking forward to launch

The Switch, while still seemingly short on first-party titles and AAA titles, can really only benefit from more games in its library. I for one welcome Arena of Valor with open arms. I’ll definitely keep playing this one past launch, and hope some of my friends will join me on the battlefield. As I’ve said, this game isn’t going to change the scene by any means. But where it sits now isn’t a bad place. It’s a polished game with online capabilities that the Switch greatly benefits from. Accessible, fun, and full of charm, Arena of Valor is poised to deliver to those who dive into it.

Arena of Valor is due to land on Nintendo Switch this autumn.