Developed by Blue Mammoth Games
Published by Blue Mammoth Games Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on PC and Mac)
Brawlhalla. What a great name. Brawlhalla is free to play fighting game by developer Blue Mammoth Games. Borrowing from the concept that makes Super Smash Bros work, the concept is quite simple. Anywhere from two to four combatants fight each other to deal damage. When you have damaged your enemies enough, use a strong attack to send them flying. If they can’t get back on the stage you earn a point and if you have the most at the end, you win. Simple right? Well the game certainly does embody the concept of “simple concept, great execution”. With plenty of playable characters and content to unlock backed by a robust community, the game is great for the low admission price of hard drive space.
Now with a simple concept there is often the worry that the game can be too shallow. Thankfully this is not the case. The control scheme on the PS4 is quite simple to learn: you have a light attack, a heavy attack, jumping, and the ability to block/dodge. Using a combination of directional inputs plus the attack button yields a different attack. Each character has two weapon types they can wield and randomly generated items appear the field for use. With 30+ characters to choose from and more coming, there’s plenty of choices to match your favorite kind of brawlers. I got a chance to play with most of the cast and I found myself particularly fond of Ragnir and Hattori. Each character embodies a different strategy, and with the variety of weapons available you have plenty of variety to work with.
The game runs at a fairly brisk pace. You often have to adapt partially because of stage layout, and the pace of game allows you time to figure out what you want to do how to do it. The learning curve is not particularly steep so jumping in and figuring things out is not only fun but you won’t require huge time sinks either. The game runs at a stable frame rate both off and online. Playing matches either way earns you currency that you can use to buy costumes, weapons. and other goodies.
Speaking of online play, I have to give some serious credit to Blue Mammoth for the online play. Whether I’m playing solo, co-op, or with four random strangers the experience is always buttery smooth. There are lots of customization options, game modes, and characters that allow for a good time online. The best part is if you want to spend money for stuff you can but it is NOT necessary to be able to win.
If I have to state any down sides, I think the only things that I really didn’t care for are the visual styling and the soundtrack. The game isn’t ugly or anything on the negative spectrum. The cartoonish style and uniformity of the character models are just not my cup of tea. The soundtrack is fitting, just not something I would make an effort to listen to outside of the game. Despite a those two minor disappointments Brawlhalla is a solid game with a strong community.