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Lemnis Gate has the trappings of a hero shooter lurking in its time-bending frame
2021-10-09 16:57:26
It’s often said that the best ideas are the least complicated. By this metric, Lemnis Gate is not a good idea. The selling point of Lemnis Gate is a difficult one to sum up. It’s a turn-based hero shooter (albeit a bare-bones one with a tiny cast of characters), where each session plays out inside a 25-second time loop.

Lemnis Gate dusts off an old-school arena shooter framework and layers it with a pretty brilliant time loop concept. Each match consists of five overlapping 25-second rounds. For each round you pick a unique operative to carry out the mission—which may be a twist on your classic Deathmatch, Domination, Attack & Defend modes, or grabbing orbs from around the map and running them back to your base.

This goes on in Lemnis Gate matches until the battlefield is lit up with 6v6 mayhem. It's hard to do Lemnis Gate's turn-based action justice with words; it's really something people have to experience for themselves to fully grasp. It's such a unique, incredibly fun idea that helps Lemnis Gate establish itself as something that's genuinely new. FPS fans haven't played anything like Lemnis Gate before.

Lemnis Gate has the trappings of a hero shooter lurking in its time-bending frame. There are seven operatives for you to choose from, and you can use each of them once during each half of a match. This adds a further tactical wrinkle to your time, as you have to work out who to keep in reserve, who offers you the best opening gambit, and who has the potential to completely turn the tide in the final turn.

The key to victory is disrupting the enemy’s past loopers from carrying out their objectives while preserving yours (this is spiced up in simultaneous mode where you and your enemy move at the same time—imagine making simultaneous chess moves with someone!). The most obvious way to disrupt an enemy is to shoot them, of course, but things get much more interesting than that.

However, beyond the emergent properties of the time-loop metagame, it’s a pretty underwhelming FPS. As mentioned, it’s a lightly staffed hero shooter with a fairly rote selection of characters (the tank, the runner, the sniper, the COD character, etc). The gunplay is competent but unmemorable. Nothing about it quite clicks in the way that great shooters tend to do. Pointing this out feels rather like saying that Arkham Asylum would be rubbish if Batman wasn’t in it (he is, so the point is moot). Lemnis Gate is about fourth-dimensional strategy, and on those terms, it rules, there’s nothing else like it. But it’s also about shooting guns, and there are plenty of better games about shooting guns.

Lemnis Gate's battles take place across a decent selection of 12 maps, with three maps per game mode. One of the game's downsides is that some of the maps seem to be designed in a way that favors one team over the other. For instance, the Iridium Plains map starts one team off in an area where they are able to advantageously lay down a turret where it's protected on either side and has a clear view of the objective, and the other team has walls in their way that can block their line of sight. Each match has teams play on both sides of the map so it evens out, but it can still be frustrating at times.

For all of its uniqueness, Lemnis Gate benefits greatly from being played with friends. Teaming up as a pair or taking each other on can be wildly more amusing than playing against strangers, and I have to recommend recommend it as that. The accompaniment of all your hard work being undone by a string of friendly expletives can never be underestimated.

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