Solstice Arena Preview

The longest day of the year—the summer solstice—is coming. Zynga is marking the occasion with the release of Solstice Arena, its own entry in the hugely popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. Solstice Arena, available now for iPhone and iPad, aims to let both hardcore and casual MOBA fans engage in fierce battles with friends and enemies alike.

Zynga describes Solstice Arena as a “speed MOBA.” The game is tailored for MOBA first-timers as well as veterans who may no longer have ample quantities of gaming time. Each match lasts from five to 12 minutes, which is exactly the amount of time you’re able to claim for yourself if you have an iPad in one hand and a sleeping baby tucked under your other arm (it’s scientifically proven).

To keep matches in Solstice Arena quick and clean, Zynga has eliminated minions and farming, two gameplay features that are currently standard in MOBAs. The abolition of farming also “slims down” the game for the mobile format.

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There is one MOBA tradition that Zynga cherishes, however: The utter destruction of your enemy’s base. Players need to make tactical decisions as they engage in three-versus-three fights for domination. A matchmaking and queue system ensures that players are connected based on skill, level, and ability. Of course, pals can communicate one-to-one and collar each other for a quick match.

There are currently more than ten heroes to choose from. Each one is designed for different play styles, and can be customized via ability paths. Each hero also comes with different skins, and not all of them fit the usual fantasy tropes. Sometimes a mage just needs to switch out her staff for a beach umbrella.

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Solstice Arena is free-to-play, but Zynga emphasizes that it’s also “fair-to-play,” thereby preserving the core of MOBA competition. In other words, you can pay for skins and customization options, but you can’t buy enhancing power-ups capable of turning your hero into a face-smashing Superman.

Solstice Arena is available on the App Store.

  • Josh Dombro

    Definitely a cool game, and much less IAP-centered than I expected from Zynga… I’m impressed to say the least, we’ll see how this game holds up.