Sunday, 26 August 2018 22:12

REVIEW: Brawlout (Xbox One)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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Fighting games are a niche market. You are either good at them or incredibly bad. You spend match after match memorising combos and counters or you randomly button mash hoping for the best. I remember Soul Calibur being one of the first tournaments I watched growing up, fighting games have always being one of the first competitive play genres. I’ve watched as the iconic and unique fighter series ‘Super Smash Bros.’ by Nintendo climb up the esports ranks, so it was only a matter of time before other platforms wanted a piece of the cute but brutal pie.

‘Brawlout’ by Angry Mob Games is the newest platforming fighter on the market and available on all consoles and PC. Coming with a roster of 21, playable characters from Hyper Light Drifter, Guacamelee!, Dead Cells and even the somewhat recent, Yooka Laylee, this game is definitely having a stab at being noticed, in such an already tight, loyal and dedicated community.

Right out the gates, the menu for Brawlout is overwhelming with so many options. There are four modes: Couch Play, Online, Tournament and Single Player. Couch Play is solely offline with free for all and team play with 2 and 4 player capabilities vs friends or the CPU. This is were I had the most fun, and spent most of my game playing time getting used to the controls as the AI difficulty can be adjusted. Single Player has arcade, a king of the tower style play, quick matches, practice arenas and the tutorial. Might I suggest the tutorial with comes in basic or advanced, not because the game is overly hard but it ticks an objective off for later. Online is your typical 1v1, ranked and private lobby. I did play a handful of online games and while connecting to all of them were quick, I only had about a 50% rate at staying connected to my opponent till the very end of the game, and even then, the games were often laggy, giving at least my challenger or I the unfair advantage. Lastly, is Tournaments, for Europe and North America that apparently run every Saturday.

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Of course, there is also an online store, as is the usual with games now, but my actual favourite feature is the Brawl TV. As I mentioned before, Esports is pretty much the way of the future in gaming now. Gaming is actually a viable career especially competitive play. Brawl TV enables you to enter someone’s match and watch it either live or from the beginning. I loved this as an avid streamer, and it also helped me hone my skills by watching tricks of the trade. Having people watch your match is how get noticed in this new world.

While this game seems like another whimsical, iconic Nintendo fighter this one seems to focus more on fighting style and less on countering by injecting more of a dodging mechanic. Other than that, it has all the classic S. S. Bros features; platforming levels in the environment, basic and special attacks, combos and increased damage to send your opponent flying over the edge for a win. Build up enough damage and you can use your rage metre to inflict even more devastating blows. Perplexing is the concept of leaving out any countering ability as mostly 80% of my online matches felt just a constant struggle to get characters back on the podium, than focusing on actual combos, which the game aims for. While I found the controls quite temperamental and touchy, people used to this kind of fighter will catch on very quickly after a bit of fine tuning.

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It is very clear this game is pushing you to go online. Each character has gear you can unlock to change them aesthetically. While this can be done through objectives the fastest way is to this via... dun dun dahhhhh, loot boxes. Disguised at Pinatas these loot boxes require currency that can be earned a lot faster through online and competitive play. I hate online competive play, it’s a world full or trolls, bad connection and ass whoopings, but I digress.

While the roster of characters are cute, very retro Nintendo feeling, they aren’t very memorable or imaginative, funny enough just like their star character and his game, Yooka Laylee. They are vibrant and eye catching at the beginning, however you don’t really linger long as they lack any sort of detail. Mako the shark was one of my standout characters though, I loved his moves and the fact he reminded me of a cartoon I used to watch in the early 90s. Couple this with the bland and un-interactive fighting arenas and you eventually become somewhat disappointed.

Brawlout kinda reminds me of the ‘Battleborn/Overwatch’ community saga. While Battleborn was a good concept it needed better execution at making it stand out from it’s competition. Because of that, Battleborn lost it’s community to Overwatch because of the more successful and established developer, Blizzard. In a year where Nintendo were bound to (and did at E3) announce a new Super Smash Bros., a fighting series jugganaut, you would need to produce an immaculate game. While it does an audience now in it’s inconsistent servers, when Bros. does drop it will be yesterday’s news.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Angry Mob Games
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Indie