If you’ve ever played through end-game content in MMORPGs, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of raids. If you aren’t, raids are fairly straightforward: there’s a big bad boss and you need to kill him. Said big-bads typically have quirks and attack patterns which make them unique, challenging, and an all-around pain to deal with.
While simple in concept, what separates raid bosses from normal game bosses is how multiple people must cooperate in real-time to defeat them. Neo Impossible Bosses aims to replicate these raiding experiences, warts and all, by creating unique, multi-layered encounters that require teamwork to succeed.
Once More Unto the Raid
Neo Impossible Bosses has it origins in the Warcraft 3 mod, “Impossible Bosses”. This spiritual successor, developed by lone-dev x0to1, hopes to offer a standalone raiding experience for a modern audience. It does away with the MMO level grinding and gets you into the heart of the action.
The basic premise of the Neo Impossible Bosses follows a party of eight heroes, from the explosive Fire Mage to the stalwart Guardian. Through their combined powers, they take on a roster of ten unique villains, each with their own deadly powers. You and a team of other players can assemble up to six characters to challenge the Impossible Bosses.
Combat occurs in enclosed arenas, with the goal being to avoid the boss’ attacks while maintaining consistent damage against them. Controls follow standard RTS/MOBA schemes, where the mouse moves characters while the keyboard activates items and abilities.
x0to1 has faithfully recreated the trials and tribulations of endgame MMO raiding in his meticulously designed boss encounters. Crucial raiding mechanics, like spatial awareness, kiting, and threat management are key to survival and taking down the boss.
Upon the boss’ the defeat, as in MMOs, they’ll drop loot as dictated by their respective loot tables. The game encourages replaying encounters, as farming for loot is integral to building your heroes’ powers. Although the tables randomly determine loot drops, the game offers consistent progression through unlockable hero talents and a shop to purchase gear from.
New Look, Same Questionable Taste
Where Neo Impossible Bosses sets itself apart is how it implements a “Pause” mechanic, allowing solo players to manage a team of multiple characters. While this function seems great on paper, in practice it makes for jarringly stilted gameplay. Due to the constantly shifting nature of the boss AI, it’s almost a necessity to constantly in order to keep your heroes alive and still maintain damage.
The game is not without its fair share of issues. The precise repetition of mechanics, obtuse difficulty curve, and lack of guides make it rather difficult to start out. There are also several aspects of Neo Impossible Bosses that feel clunky, namely the aged visuals and cluttered UI.
While the game certainly does what it set out to do, raid boss encounters don’t exactly perform well in a vacuum. The longstanding appeal of games like WoW and Final Fantasy XIV is that they’re games greater than the sum of their parts. Bereft of sprawling worlds and a lively community, Neo Impossible Bosses is a perfect slice of but one part of MMOs.