Critical Hit: Broforce
Quick Breakdown: An ultra-destructible 2D action game that takes heavy influence from Contra (though without the difficulty) which lets you play as various action heroes. This game is basically the 80’s with more testosterone.
Length: 3 hours
Review Date 2015-04-02 (Early Access)
Available On: PC
Full Review: Broforce is a game very much influenced by 80’s action movies. As a fan of this kind of movie (though I've not seen all the ones this game takes influence from), it’s a pretty fun thing to play.
The gameplay is pretty simple; it’s a 2D shooter that takes a lot of influence from Contra. That said, it’s also a much easier game. You move left to right, shooting your enemies, and destroying the environment. In fact, that's part of the fun. Everything goes boom, and you can destroy most of the environment. If one path through a level isn't working out so hot for you, you can blow up some of the terrain and see if you can go around.
The character you play as dies in one hit, so you do need to show some caution while playing, but thankfully not too much, you can still run into danger with a headstrong reckless abandon. You start each level with one life, but you can collect more during the level, you’ll receive one extra life every time you rescue a bro.
That’s one of the things we need to focus on for this review. The bros. Each bro is based on various characters from different movies, tv shows, and even comics; and each one plays differently. Most of the bros are based on 80’s action movie heroes, but we’re also treated to characters from earlier and later time periods. The core mechanics for the bros give you a main attack, which you can use as much as you want, and a special attack, which you have only a limited number of (1-6, depending on the bro).
The levels have cages scattered throughout them, containing captured bros. Each time you rescue a bro the game will automatically switch your character to a random bro, and give you another life. You unlock new bros to use by increasing the total number of bros you’re rescued. When you die in a level, you’ll re-spawn from the last checkpoint as another random bro.
All this talk of bros begs the question, who are the bros featured in this game? Well, I won’t list all of them since part of the fun is being surprised, but I will talk about a few of them. When you first start the game, you play as Rambro (yes, all the bros have “bro” in their name, usually as a pun on either their name, or their franchise’s name). This is of course a pretty solid choice to begin the game with. Both because he’s an iconic action hero, and in game he’s armed with a machine gun and grenades, making it easy to dive right into the action and get to shooting.
As for the other bros, I was quite happy to see that Bro Hard (John McClane) included, and they even left him barefoot, which is a pretty nice touch. I was also pretty happy (and surprised) to see Bro Dredd (Judge Dredd) included, whose gun fires bullets that both have (limited) homing abilities, and bounce off walls, (another nice touch, managing to incorporate two of his bullet types from the comics, heat-seeking and ricochet). Another fun one I was happy to see (though much less surprised) was Robrocop. The Terminator also makes an appearance, with a powerful gatling gun, and he’s a lot of fun to play as. Some of the other bros (with their non-broified names) included are Snake Plissken (Escape From New York), Blade (Marvel Comics), Men In Black, Neo (The Matrix), Indiana Jones, and quite a few others.
So, let’s talk about some of the weapons the different bros have. Machine guns are par for the course, with quite a few bros packing rapid fire heat. Others have more unique firearms, with shotguns, homing shots, spread guns, and more populating the game’s arsenal. Others opt for more literal firearms, and by that I mean a flamethrower. While others take less modern weapons, such as swords, knives, and whips; still others go for the future route, with high tech lasers and futuristic guns. Some simply prefer to do their dirty work with just their fists. As for some of the special weapons available for use, the bros are equipped with things like grenades, cluster bombs, Molotov cocktails, more powerful gun attacks, the ability to call down an air strike, and even a giant exploding turkey. The weapon variety is a lot of fun, and along with the selection of bros, is one of the game’s greatest strengths. Though sadly, some of the bros are less effective than others. Sometimes the difference is small, and sometimes it’s quite large.
The game’s graphics are done in a simple pixel art style, in the vein of old school shooters, though it looks a bit more polished than those of yore. They’re pleasant to look at, and I don’t have any real complaints about them.
The story and the setting for the game are pretty simple, you’re sent into a war zone, and must fight for freedom. It feels a bit too “America, fuck yeah” for me at times, but it’s easy to overlook once you start shooting and making things go boom again. The final levels in the game pit you against alien invaders from another world, clearly inspired by the Alien franchise. They are also the best levels in the game.
The game also features support for multiplayer fun, and while I only took a brief excursion into this myself, it was pretty good fun.
I should also note that while you can play the game with a keyboard, this is one of those games that is far better when played with a controller. As such, I’d highly recommend using an X-Box 360 controller for Windows when playing Broforce.
Now, the game itself is very short. The campaign mode will only take about a mere 3 hours to play through, and while it’s a lot of fun, it does leave one wanting more. Thankfully, the game is still Early Access, so we should get more levels in the future. Even if we don’t, the game is still a blast, and certainly worth playing, but at its current length it’s probably better to pick it up on sale, instead of paying the full $15 for it. That said, the new levels that were added just before I purchased the game (the Alien Infestation update) were thrilling, and while there weren't too many of those included, they were easily some of the best in the game. If this is the kind of content that future updates will have, then I very eagerly look forward to more.
If you’re still not quite sure on if you should pick up Broforce or not, you could grab The Expendabros on Steam for free. Check out my review of it tomorrow!
When all’s said and done, Broforce is a hell of a lot of fun, and being able to fight your way across levels as an assortment of different characters with different weapons is quite enjoyable. Give it a chance, start blowing shit up with your favourite action heroes.
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