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How to use knockback influence in MultiVersus

MultiVersus has its own take on directional influence from Super Smash Bros.

Bugs Bunny and Finn duke it out in MultiVersus Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games

Character brawler MultiVersus takes inspiration from Super Smash Bros. in many ways. Even casual players may recognize the Smash Bros. mechanic of directional influence – the ability for the person getting hit to influence the direction in which their character sails across the screen. A simplified version appears in Multiversus called knockback influence. Like its Smash Bros. counterpart, it allows players to survive potentially fatal hits. This guide will tell you why knockback influence is so important, and how to use it to not die as much in the game.

[Ed. note: MultiVersus also has a knockback influence tutorial, but at the time of publish, it appears to be glitched and won’t recognize player input. Some players have brute-forced a completion by pressing the PlayStation or Xbox home button in addition to the directional stick movements indicated. We tested this on PC, where the solution is pressing Alt+Tab, and it worked. The rest of our guide explains how to actually use knockback influence.]

Much like in Smash Bros, when your character is damaged in MultiVersus, it causes a number to increase next to the character’s name at the bottom of the screen. Different attacks cause that number to increase different amounts; the higher it is, the more your character gets thrown back and stunned by attacks. When your damage percentage grows to the mid to late hundreds, you’ll start to see yourself being launched offscreen — but there is a way to outlast a high percentage and avoid sailing off into your demise.

The knockback influence tutorial in MultiVersus has a CPU version of Wonder Woman fighting against you — and it’s glitched, so it’s almost impossible to clear Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games via Polygon

How to use directional influence to survive

Heavily damaged players in MultiVersus are given some influence over which way they move while flying across the screen. Reacting fast enough during the in-air time allows players to pick a direction for their trajectory; they can aim at a wall to stop their momentum, or simply aim to a spot that won’t spell certain doom. With enough practice, timing and aiming your direction right can turn a likely death into a second chance, even if your fighter’s percentage numbers are in the danger zone, glowing red.

To do this, first you need to pay attention and react to what direction you’ve been launched in. After taking the hit and getting sent flying, hold the control stick in the direction you’d like to travel.

It isn’t as simple as holding the control stick in the opposite direction, such as holding the control stick to the right if you’ve been launched to the left. You’re going to want to properly influence your trajectory in a way that allows the knockback to wear off, allowing you to then point back into that opposite direction. For example: If you’re launched directly to the left or right, you’re most likely going to go straight into the wall blast zone and die. To survive this, hold up on your control stick if you’re lower to the ground, or hold down on the stick if you were hit in the air. This may buy you some time while the knockback’s stun wears off. After you’ve survived, hold your stick opposite to the attack that launched you, and you should be able to make your way back to the stage.

Batman, Harley Quinn, Jake the Dog, and Arya Stark battle in a screenshot from MultiVersus Image: Player First Games/Warner Bros. Games

Other uses of directional influence

Like its sibling platform fighter Smash Bros, Multiversus has other forms and uses of directional influence as well. One that you’ll find yourself using as much as knockback influence is combo directional influence. This entails moving the control stick in a certain direction to escape combos. Many times you’ll be using this in tandem with knockback directional influence to survive as long as possible instead of losing early lives to combos that don’t account for directional influence.

As with Smash, the combo directional influence that you’ll want to go for will vary from combo to combo. However, the tried and true formula that may save you from many situations — especially in this very early beta meta — is to simply hold away from your attacker. This will slowly pull you out of the attacker’s onslaught, especially if it’s a simple jab combo.

Directional influence is one of your main defensive mechanics in platform fighters, and that remains true in MultiVersus. If you master it, you’ll quickly notice yourself doing a whole lot more surviving than exploding. Sometimes well past the 100% mark.

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