Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. is easily one of the most popular fighting franchises in the world, if not the most popular. If nothing else, it sure as hell has some of the most vocal and passionate fanbases out there. Legions of people across the globe that are all-but-too-happy to display their love and passion for it. To put it simply, it’s a formula that is almost two decades old and still to this day, works.
Brawlhalla, Blue Mammoth Game’s new f2p title aims to provide and alternative twist on the classic Smash formula. Hoping that players from that particular fanbase are able to satiate their thirsts on this new game, until there is an official announcement for the next Smash title. It brings with it a very similar, 2-D juggle/aerial combo gameplay as well as an eclectic roster of characters.
So does it succeed? Read on to find out.
Brawlhalla is a free-to-play platform fighter from Blue Mammoth Games, the game has been in Early Access for a while, and finally released on the PC and PS4 on the 17th of October 2017.
Graphics and Performance:
While Brawlhalla looks…fine, it’s hard to really point out anything really unique about the aesthetic. They are cartoony characters who seem derived from pop culture archetypes (been a lot of those since ‘Overwatch’ exploded) that don’t really seem to differ all that much (to me at least). They look just about OK. There is no sense of iconic design or standing out from other 2D titles. They’re by no means ugly, but nothing special either.
The stage design is also good, without ever being groundbreaking. They are your typical settings that you get in most games of these types. You’ll get the feeling that you’ve seen it all before. Still, you’ll enjoy it a lot and they will remain fun throughout.
The controls are tight and responsive and despite the hectic action on screen, your character mostly behaves the way you want it too, at any given time. Both in air and on ground, a player can get skilled in maneuverability over time and the wall bounces/ jumps/ hover etc. works perfectly.
One complaint that can be levied here is that the fighting lacks a bit of the ‘crunchiness’ that’s expected from the genre. The hits, blows and collisions feel nice, but they don’t feel amazing. Hit detection and impact is the key to making players hooked on fighting games, and Brawlhalla sometimes hedges it’s bets (or at least that’s what I feel).
The second issue is with the camera. It sometimes has the habit of zooming out too far, making the already smaller character models look even smaller. This, combined with the somewhat limited color scheme of the palette, can make the fighting seem a tad confusing. This of course, may just be a subjective opinion but it does feel to happen more often than not.
On the plus side though, the gameplay remains fun throughout, and each character has a multitude of options for their in-match starting weapons (that are picked during gameplay) that range from spears to swords to axes. Aside from that there are aerial maneuvers (mentioned above) like triple jumps, hovers and dashes that provide a decent skill ceiling for the player to invest into. If you want to (and work at it), you can get good at it.
The more you play , the more XP you gain with each character (Which unlock minor perks as usual). So in many aspects, you can choose your load out when you want. Both online and offline modes are available and both remain fun throughout. Online modes possess a large range of options from casual free-for-all to ranked 1v1 or 2v2 matches. There’s also ‘Brawlball’, in which you have to maneuver yourself to the opponents’ side of the screen holding the ball and stand in a designated area to score.
Online lobbies at the time of review, were also working great, with minimal wait times for matches to start and consistent performance throughout. It runs smoothly on the PS4 and the developers have to be commended to pulling it off.
Story & Narrative
Lol. It’s a fighting game.
Jokes aside, the inclusion of a single player story mode would have immensely benefited this game, as it would have allowed it’s personality to shine.
Overall, Brawlhalla is a solid package. It’s well made and confidently delivered. It will provide Smash fans a lot of weekend popcorn entertainment. Still, however it could have been much more than what it is now had there been more meat on the bone. On the whole, however, it’s a solid effort that deserves praise from gamers, whilst hoping for better things next time.