A simple new low-poly online PvP military shooter that plays a lot like Battlefield 3 and only costs $15 might not seem like the next big thing. But in fact, it is, and after playing it for a week I get why: It’s just a really good shooter focused on gameplay and chaos.
BattleBit Remastered doesn’t look realistic. Not at all. It instead looks more like something made in Roblox, with blocky soldiers and low-res textures. It also doesn’t feature huge seasonal updates or crossovers with popular movies. It has no cosmetic shop or battle pass to grind. It also doesn’t feature advanced raytracing effects or an expensive single-player campaign starring some famous actor you might remember from that one movie.
And yet, this relatively simple shooter has quickly become one of the most popular games on Steam—currently sitting at over 55k concurrent players—in large part because it remembers that people primarily loved Battlefield and similar shooters for their action and fun, not all the other crap that got bolted onto so many multiplayer franchises over the years.
Because this new indie shooter plays so much like older Battlefield games—complete with similar controls, maps, and game modes—playing BattleBit Remastered felt like riding an old bicycle after being away for years. Within less than an hour of booting up the game, I could feel old muscle memories kicking in, letting me quickly dive into the chaotic action of 254-player battles and not (completely) get my ass kicked.
Like Battlefield, BattleBit tasks two teams of players with trying to capture and hold different locations spread across various maps. (There are some other modes, but this Conquest-style mode is by far the most popular among players.) Players can spawn as combat-focused assault troopers, medics that can heal people, snipers that can…well…snipe enemies, engineers who can repair and destroy vehicles, and finally, support soldiers who can provide armor to teammates while laying down suppressing fire with their large machine guns. There is also a squad leader role that is similar to assault but with a few extra perks, but I’m terrified of leading people in an online video game so I avoided that class like I avoided landmines.
As you play with each class and weapon, you earn XP that helps you level up and unlock new weapons and attachments. You can revive soldiers, share ammo, get into vehicles, blow up buildings with explosives, and…look, you’re probably already familiar with this type of game. If you played older Battlefield games, you get all of this.
You might be wondering: If BattleBit is so familiar and plays so much like the Battlefield games of old, why play BattleBit Remastered over EA’s popular shooter series? For two reasons.
Number one is, as mentioned previously, the Battlefield franchise (and many other modern games) have become so bloated and finicky as games get bigger, more expensive, and less reliable. And thanks to BattleBit’s simplified low-poly look, I was able to play it on my PC at 120fps with no issues. That goes a long way in an era where it seems every other big video game is launching half-broken. BattleBit Remastered’s return to less cluttered menus, fewer loadouts, and no microtransaction-fueled cosmetic nonsense also made me realize that I’ve not enjoyed a Battlefield game since Battlefield 1. It really is wonderful to have a multiplayer shooter that isn’t covered in all the junk we associate with modern online games.
The other reason I’d recommend checking out BattleBit—especially if you are a Battlefield or Call of Duty player—is that the game isn’t just copying what came before it. As much as BattleBit plays a lot like Battlefield 3 or other games from that era, it also brings in some elements from more sim-focused shooters.
For example, you can drag fallen comrades into safer spots before healing them. The game also punishes you for reloading before you’re empty, with those bullets being left in the magazine. However, you can hold a button to have your character combine half-empty mags into full ones. And you can always just double-tap the reload button to instantly drop your old mag and quickly reload a new one. Just remember to pick up your old mag if you don’t want to lose it.
It’s this mix of classic Battlefield-like chaos and fun—driving tanks through buildings, etc.—-with slightly more milsim elements that really sold me on BattleBit. It feels like it’s not simply trying to offer players a throwback to when shooters were more focused on fun, but it’s also injecting some new elements and ideas. The end result: BattleBit isn’t just a low-poly remake of something more popular. It’s a successful melding of new ideas, old ideas, classic gameplay, and simplified visuals, making BattleBit one of the best PvP shooters I’ve played in years, even if it looks like everyone in the game is a cousin of Steve from Minecraft.
If you’ve grown tired of extraction shooters and battle royale games and crave something more focused on gunplay, combat, and just having fun over grinding and seasons, I’d recommend BattleBit Remastered. It’s a very welcome palette cleanser after years of bland Battlefield games and forgettable multiplayer shooters. Now leave me alone, I gotta go play more BattleBit.
Since BattleBit’s Steam launch on July 3, the game has sold nearly 2 million copies, according to a recent interview with one of the three developers. Developer SgtOkiDoki told HowToMarketAGame that before release, BattleBit had racked up nearly 800,000 Steam wishlist inclusions and launched with nearly 88,000 players.
These numbers would be impressive for any video game in 2023, but are even more wild considering that only three people worked on the low-budget, indie shooter.
As SgtOkiDoki explained in the interview, BattleBit might seem like an overnight success to folks who are just now noticing the game, but that’s not the case. The game has been in some form of development and closed testing since 2016, with the small team of devs working very hard to grow the game’s community and help it become the superhit it is now. Though, the devs warn folks looking to make their own games to stay away from multiplayer, because it’s really hard to get right.
“If you are planning to make a multiplayer game, don’t!,” said SgtOkiDoki. “I am not going to lie, don’t. Make a single-player game (if this is your first game). It is very trying. If you are going to accept that, you are going to be slammed by a hammer.”
I’m glad these devs were able to push through the difficulty and stress of making an online shooter because they’ve created something special and worth checking out. If you’ve grown tired of extraction shooters and battle royale games and crave something more focused on gunplay, combat, and just having fun over grinding and seasons, I’d recommend BattleBit Remastered. It’s a very welcome palette cleanser after years of bland Battlefield games and forgettable multiplayer shooters. Now leave me alone, I gotta go play more BattleBit.