Windows, OS X
Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
Ever wanted to play smash on the computer? Well this is kind of the closest thing. Brawlhalla is a free-to-play online brawler in which players fight against either AI fighters or competing real-world players on a floating platform with the goal of knocking the opponent of the stage to score points. The game was developed by Blue Mammoth Games and released on November 3, 2015 as an Open Beta and is currently in Early Access on Steam. As a free game it is something that people can check out and play for themselves without much penalty if you don’t enjoy it. While the game does have some fun gameplay it is very far from a perfect brawler.
The controls aren’t to difficult to understand. Any person who has played a fighter or a brawler before can figure out the controls. The goal is to knock opponents off the stage. This can be achieved by knocking them off and making sure they don’t get back on, or by dealing enough damage to make it easy to send them flying off screen to their death. The damage is measured by a color changing bar by your character head on the bottom of the screen. It slowly changes from white to red as you accumulate damage. The color bar is much less distinct and precise than a number percentage, making for unsure combat. There are very few items to utilize as their is only a bomb, trip mine, spike ball and battle horn for calling in your sidekick to attack. you pick up your weapons by collecting a flaming pickup on the map and you will gain one of your characters two weapons. There are numerous types of weapons such as the spear, hammer or pistols. But each character uses only two of them. While a character may use the same weapon as another character, they may use it in very different ways.
Characters & Weapons
With a slowly expanding roster of very differently looking characters. Each with their own stats and weapons. Each character uses two weapon classes and can pick them up in game. Some weapons vary widely from others in their speed or damage. Weapons like the Hammer are obviously going to be slower and more powerful than the Spear or Rocket Lance. Some are much faster than others and rely on the user to combo to be truly effective such as the Katars or Blasters. While characters will use the same weapons as other characters they will operate them in a different way. Scarlett for instance uses the Hammer and the Rocket Lance and unlike other character, she utilizes steam in her attacks due to her being a steampunk themed character.
I don’t particularly enjoy or appreciate when free-to-play games push that they are free-to-play, yet have an obscene amount of content that you can’t earn in game. Most games today feature two different currencies, one that is earned easily through gameplay, and a more premium one that is usually exclusively payed out of pocket with real money or earned at a drastically slower rate. This game features a large amount of content such as weapon and character skins and sidekicks that can only be purchased with the games premium currency known as Mammoth Coins. I despise when games, whether they are free or not, make you play to get the good stuff. It doesn't promote player loyalty as no matter how much you play you cannot earn the currency to buy the skins you want for your favorite Legend. They have recently lowered the price of purchasing Mammoth Coins which is nice but doesn’t rectify the issue. I have always been opposed to this micro-transaction model that is so popular today. Gamers should be rewarded for their dedication to the game, not the size of their wallets.
All-in-all the game isn’t to bad but it also isn’t to great. The gameplay is smooth. There isn’t really a story or anything that compels one to play it other than fun gameplay, so if your looking for a game with depth, this isn’t it. The music is very average, as is the games art style. The isn’t really anything in the game that really pulls the player to it aside from it being a brawler which is an inherently great party game genre. The characters are cool but don’t really stand out as amazing. There are very few item pickups in game and combat can become rather boring after a while. I also find issue with the hud, as it isn’t very clear on the damage one has accumulated. I would much prefer a damage percentage rather than a color changing bar. They definitely earn points for trying to differentiate themselves from Super Smash Bros. but in this aspect it didn't pay off. Brawlhalla isn’t necessarily a bad game but it also isn’t great. It is a very average game and while It would’t be something I would outright recommend to someone it is something that I think some people would enjoy, while others wouldn’t really care for it.