Reflex is a competitive arena shooter where you will be entering matches on various level layouts, collecting weapons and powerups to help defeat your opponents, and playing different game modes.
Levels in reflex can vary greatly, whether it’s the layout or weapon and powerup spawn points. Other than the simple layout of levels with hallways and rooms, there are helpful devices that help you to get where you want, such as jump pads and portals. There can also be hazards present like lava, and even small openings in the walls or floor that let you shoot sneaky shots at people.
The selection of weapons isn’t very large and they are very simple to use, but they are still deadly. Weapon types include the melee weapon you always have, bullet weapons like the shotgun, explosive projectile weapons like the rocket and grenade launchers, and energy weapons like the plasmagun and railgun.
Alongside the main game, there are also level and replay editors available. While the replay editor still needs a lot of work, the in-game level editor is very nice. Other than simply being a tool to let you create your own levels, you can instantly change from editor to play mode, allowing flawless testing of your maps. Creating levels is also a multiplayer activity, as creating levels happens on a server and multiple people can join, making the creation process much faster. After finishing a level, you can upload it to the Steam Workshop to let other players try out your map.
There are no AI controlled enemies as well as no ranked matchmaking as of yet, and because of the nature of arena shooters, you will most likely have a better experience watching the game than playing it. If you do want to play, it is best to play free for all or any team game modes, as the 1V1 mode is all up to you to kill your opponent. All game modes last until a certain amount of time or a certain score is attained, and at most you will be playing matches for 10-20 minutes. Mastering movement, learning the layout of maps, and consistently hitting your opponents are all skills that you can master while playing the game. It is highly competitive and enjoyable if you are looking for a challenging FPS. Reflex will last until you become bored with it, as you simply play matches over and over with no sort of campaign.
The options menu is very advanced in this game, allowing you to modify pretty much everything to how you want. Other than the usual graphical and audio options, you can completely rebind your controls, modify your HUD including how your reticle appears, as well as being able to set exactly how your mouse movements work with more than a simple sensitivity slider. Reflex is a graphically plain game with mostly grey walls and single color objects. This of course allows the game to run extremely well and the only reason you wouldn’t be able to attain very high FPS is if you were to completely max every graphical setting or simply have a terrible computer. The only music in the game is while you’re at the main menu, as the only thing you hear while playing or spectating a match is sound effects. As it is an arena shooter, the controls are expected to be very precise and they are. The typical WASD fps control style is used and advanced movement techniques are in play, such as bunny hopping.
There is very little if any loading that happens while playing, as connecting to servers happen quickly. The core mechanics of the game are essentially complete, while a bunch of extra enhancements are still in development. You can expect to see more game modes, matchmaking, better performance, better spectating tools, statistics, and more.
The only arena shooter that I ever played was the Unreal Tournament series, and its been quite some time since I’ve played any of them. After spectating matches on Reflex for a while, it just seemed a little too basic for me. There’s nothing wrong with being basic, especially since it is easier to balance simple mechanics, but it would be nice to have unique content. All the weapons do what you would expect, rocket launchers dealing splash damage and a laser beam that deals a ton of damage if you can keep it on a player. Hopefully they add or change things to be more unique, as pretty much every gun in Unreal Tournament had a unique feel to them.
Unless you just aren’t into arena shooters or already have one that you’re playing all the time and don’t want to switch, Reflex is worth investing in while it is in Early Access. Even if the development of the game were to stop, the game wouldn’t suffer much: core game mechanics are essentially complete, the community will continue making maps, and networking uses dedicated servers instead of relying on official servers.