Special thanks to Qubic Games for supplying the review code and the footage used in this review!
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When I first saw that Brawl was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I nearly died of excitement. Sure it wasn’t Smash for Wii U, but a proper Smash game on the Switch…I was hyped. Then I watched the trailer and realized my mistake. Brawl is not a Smash game, but a Bomberman like game with a heavy emphasis on its’ horror theme. I’ll make one more Smash joke and then we’ll move onto the actual review.
[Shows clip of SMASH]
Qubic Games was kind enough to send us a review copy of Brawl so we could provide our thoughts on this new title. The game is already released on the Switch and has been out for awhile. So is it a blast to play or does the game blow up its’ own face? This is PushDustIn from Source Gaming, and let’s get started with our review.
I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Brawl does feature a proper story and a full single player mode. What’s even more is that the game has voice acting, and cutscenes. For each character there are five levels, which are a mixture of light “platforming”, fighting waves of enemies or fighting against a boss character. Each character has their own unique ability such as the Sad Clown having the ability to move bombs via sneezing, or the Blind Girl being able to teleport with her knife.
The game tries to be a bit too edgy sometimes, which means the writing falls on its face. The game makes so many jokes about the Blind Girl not being able to see, or the Sad Clown being the butt of his own joke that it really makes the characters feel incredibly one dimensional and the writing very weak. It feels like the game will appeal to young kids who are trying to be edgy, instead of actually being scary or edgy. Essentially, a modern Shadow the Hedgehog.
The voice acting is fantastic but the script is so bland that it’s effectiveness wore me down. What’s more is that the script relies on the same words over and over again. I’m not sure how many more times I can hear the word MINION.
[Clip of MINION, with Minions appearing]
I…have to shut off the story mode now.
Brawl has several modes and this is where the game starts to shine.
In addition to the tutorial and story mode, there are several modes which can played by yourself or with friends. There are: versus, duel, classic, sumo, color domination and team arena. In my opinion, Classic and Color Domination are the two best modes. Classic is more like Bomberman and is decent at emulating that style of play. Color Domination is where players will need to paint the map by using their bombs. This can be quite fun as it can get very hectic very quickly.
With Color Domination, Sumo and Classic the characters won’t have their unique bonuses but instead rely on bonuses that can only be picked up in that type of game. For other modes, each character will have their own unique attributes and skills.
In addition, there are three other ‘Challenge’ modes. This includes Horde, Sheep and Who’s the Boss. These are like a Zombie mode in Call of Duty: Survive as long as possible against enemies that constantly respawn. Again, there is no online multiplayer.
Lastly, there are unlockable. Stages, ‘trophies’, and concept art. The trophies can be gained by completing a wide range of tasks. What’s great is that the requirements are spelled out for players, so players can aim for certain trophies. Trophies will reward players with currency which they can then use to unlock the concept art or models.
Brawl does have a lot to offer in terms of content, especially if you are playing the game with a friend locally.
All in all, I don’t mind Brawl’s style. It reminds me a bit of Aggressive Inline Skating for the GameCube, which I have very fond memories of. The game has a 3D/ cell shading style to it which is not bad, especially for a downloadable title for 10 USD.
The soundtrack isn’t amazing. In particular, I found the menu theme to be very annoying.
I’ve run into some bugs while playing. Unfortunately, I was playing in handheld mode so I don’t have footage of it, but enemies didn’t spawn a couple of times while I was playing the Sad Clown’s tutorial levels. The frame rate also suffers when the game tries to be cinematic but gameplay generally seems to be okay.
The story mode which I mentioned before is incredibly difficult. The AI is very good at avoiding bombs, and with limited lives, even on easy mode, the game feels like a drag. I’ve spent a lot of time to just try to complete some of the levels in the story mode, but because of the AI/ the game throwing more enemies at the player I wasn’t able to make a lot of progress. The announcer gets really annoying which makes the story mode very frustrating. The single player is just not fun nor well balanced. Being able to turn off the voice acting, and giving players extra lives in the easier modes would go far in making the single player experience better.
As I mentioned before, the game doesn’t have any online multiplayer so everything is local. I’m extremely conflicted on what score to give Brawl. I feel like the game has a lot of content, but I just don’t really like it. I only truly enjoyed one or two of the modes.
If players are looking for a good Bomberman like game on the Switch, wait for Super Bomberman R to go on sale. I feel like Brawl is an appealing purchase for those who want to play something locally with friends, who don’t own Super Bomberman R, and are about to go through puberty.
I give Brawl a 3/5.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)