The shooter genre can often feel stale. Many players cannot count how many different games they have customized an M16 or FAMAS in. Recent years saw the rise of the hero shooter to address this, allowing players to further customize their playstyles by selecting from a stable of characters with a unique kit and role on the battlefield. However, many of those titles have started to become homogenized as well. One hero can build a turret, another has a big hammer, one has a shield, one is the starter character with a sprint and grenade, and maybe one can see enemy positions, whether through x-ray vision or some kind of radar. But Lemnis Gate, developed by Ratloop Games Canada and published by Frontier Developments, breathes new air into the equation by incorporating elements from a turn-based strategy game.
Matches in Lemnis Gate play out over a 25-second time loop. Games allow for 1v1 or 2v2 and feature a handful of different objective-based game modes. Seek & Destroy sees one team trying to destroy one of two objectives while the other defends. Retrieve XM has teams fighting over collecting as many of the four pieces of exotic matter as they can. Domination has teams fighting to control power towers by dealing the most damage to them, and all three modes play over two halves that allow teams to score and switch sides in between.
Matches start with one player taking a turn as one of Lemnis Gate’s seven characters. Each character can only be used once per match, and each serves a very specific purpose on the battlefield. For example, one is used to shoot toxic goo and deny space on the map. Another is a sniper that can slow down time to land the perfect headshot, and a third can put protective bubbles on the ground or allies for protection.
The balancing of the different characters and their unique kits is very well done. Each character brings something unique to matches, and each has exciting ways to interact with one another to form a strategy. The characters are also well balanced in that players aren’t locked into picking one character to counter another. Instead, each character can be used in a variety of ways to adapt and react to the enemy team’s strategy.
Strategies are built over the course of the rounds, thanks to Lemnis Gate’s time loop. After a player’s first turn, their actions with that character play out during every subsequent turn. This allows teams to counterplay enemies’ turns in various ways, whether it be killing an enemy before they kill a previous turn, protecting characters with bubbles, or dropping down turrets at the start of a match to provide damage throughout future turns.
This structure is super unique to Lemnis Gate and brings a lot of tension to matches. Orchestrating a ridiculous idea for a turn and then having only one shot to execute it makes the palms sweat more than any multiplayer shooter has in recent memory. Knowing you have one chance to make it work means that pulling those tricky turns off is a rush of euphoria, contrasted by having to watch your failed turns on repeat for the rest of the match. This structure also helps Lemnis Gate be more approachable for players who are not as familiar with multiplayer FPS games. Many of the characters do not require incredible precision to be effective. And players don’t have to account for the control and actions of their opponent as much while playing.
Lemnis Gate is also a budget title that costs a third of the typical price for a multiplayer shooter and still does not skimp out on content. There is no single-player campaign, but there are twelve unique maps, each of which are built around being played with one game mode in mind. As players level up and complete challenges, they are rewarded with a currency used to unlock different skins for heroes and their guns. At launch, there were two sets of unlocks for every character, each of them having a handful of different options.
The presentation for the skins and the maps are mostly great, with skins being grounded but solid looking for each character while every map is really different and requires players to adapt to diverse strategies. However, the game’s visuals don’t entirely hold up, with a couple of areas in certain maps standing out for how awkward they look. However, the small instances of these do little to detract from the game’s overall presentation, which is clean and effective in all other regards. The only other issue that came up during my time with the game was some matchmaking issues around the game’s release, but the developers quickly ironed those out.
Overall, Lemnis Gate feels like a bold breath of fresh air. The game is a dramatic new take on the genre that has been fully embraced to its bones. Lemnis Gate is a must for any fans of shooters and strategy titles, especially for players who have a friend to bring along for some 2v2 matches. The future looks pretty bright for Lemnis Gate, and it has more than earned it.
Lemnis Gate is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
- Rating - 9/109/10
Lemnis Gate feels like a bold breath of fresh air. The game is a dramatic new take on the genre that has been fully embraced to its bones. Lemnis Gate is a must for any fans of shooters and strategy titles, especially for players who have a friend to bring along for some 2v2 matches. The future looks pretty bright for Lemnis Gate, and it has more than earned it.