Manage your inventory to PvP glory in the demo of autobattler Backpack Battles

My love of games where you play inventory Tetris is well-known. I do not make a secret of this. I like to snugly fit a health potion in beside my spare dagger and weird stuff I've picked up off the latest shopkeep or slain demon. I have also played perhaps too much Dota, and therefore I like it when two or more items become one, stronger item.

Backpack Battles delivers unto me just that. Plus, it's a twist on the PvP autobattler genre that lets you play asynchronous multiplayer against others as you build and inventory manage your way to victory. Each round you get money to purchase from the shop with before you go into combat against an opponent at the same level as you. Win or lose, you move forward, combine some items into new ones, gain HP, and make new purchases.

The multiplayer demo of Backpack Battles has been out in the wild for a while now, with two characters and a slew of items available. It's enough for a lively little community to have sprung up around it—something like a peak of 7,000 concurrent this weekend.

The two characters you can play now are Ranger, a speed-attacking critical hit hunter, and Reaper, a poisonous life-stealing type. That's not the only way to play them, of course, as I found a lot of success crafting the holy Eggscalibur frying pan and collecting food items to go with it. I also did well with the Reaper by just racking up as many armor-granting and life-stealing items as possible and simply outlasting my opponents until mandatory stacks of "fatigue" killed them before me.

The current demo release lets you play both in casual and ranked mode, both with no time limit on a build—you play until you lose enough or win enough rounds. If you've got a particularly good build you can even push your luck and go into Survival Mode for bonus rank points (or an embarrassing loss of potential rank points.)

You can check out the demo of Backpack Battles on Steam.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.