Brawlout could be a spiritual successor to the critically and commercially acclaimed Super Smash Bros Series.
Type: Single-player, Multi-player
Genre: Action, Combat
Developer: Angry Mob Games
Publisher: Angry Mob Games
Release Date: 20 Apr, 2017
I was a huge fan of the original Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo 64 and Super Smash Bros on PC was one of my fondest dreams. There have been games such as Brawlhalla and Megabyte Punch, into which I have sunk countless hours, but none of them felt as polished or as fun as Super Smash Bros. Brawlout is a new game in the genre. But does it offer anything new?
For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of game, Brawlout is a competitive brawler in which you play against bots or your friends on a raised platform. The main aim of the game is to beat your opponents to a pulp and then push them off the platform.
All the players start with equal health and it reduces with every hit taken. As your opponents’ health is whittled down, they become more fragile and fall back farther with each hit. After you’ve damaged an opponent enough, one hit will send him flying through the stage to his doom. It is a very simple premise and the gameplay is simple enough for beginners to understand.
Don’t expect something like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, though. While Brawlout offers combos and variations to counter your enemies’ attacks, the fighting is not as complex as the big-name fighting games. The major sell for Brawlout is its roster of interesting characters.
At the time of writing, there are about half a dozen characters present, all with their own unique styles of fighting. For example, King Feather can jump up to five times and rain down attacks on an opponent, but is vulnerable to being easily knocked out, while King Apu is a scorpion-like character who uses his chains to pull his opponents in for setting up combos.
Whenever you hit an opponent or take a hit, a rage meter builds up, allowing you to perform special attacks and perform combo breakers. When the rage meter is filled up, you enter into Rage Mode, where you take less damage from enemies, while doing more damage yourself.
Brawlout doesn’t heavily feature shields or defensive abilities. Instead, your success depends on the speed with which you can dish out damage to your opponents and knock them out of the battle. It is very reliant on offense and that might turn some people off from the game.
At present, Brawlout is also quite lacking in features, stages, and characters. While in Early Access, it makes sense that the developers should carefully balance every character before release, but the price tag for Brawlout is very steep for its current state.
As an arena brawler, Brawlout focuses on multiplayer. There are a number of modes, including ranked matches, casual one-on-one matches, private lobbies, and Brawlout TV. The online connection can be a bit unreliable and I failed to complete more than 50% of my online matches due to crashes or unplayable input lag.
You can play single player, too, but while the bots are competent, it does not take much time to figure out their patterns. Another thing that bugs me is the inability to add bots to private lobbies with friends, a feature which can be found in some other games mentioned above. There is no story mode or tutorial present as of now but these are promised to be added in future updates.
All nitpicking aside, the gameplay of Brawlout is fun, fluid, and chaotic. It needs more content, better net code, and some polish here and there, but when it gets going, it is some solid brawling fun.
Brawlout has a cartoonish aesthetic, which looks incredibly gorgeous in action. The fast, fluid movements are accentuated by the amount of visual flair. In games like Brawlout, more players equals more fun, and the same goes for the visuals. It gets chaotic and colours pop out in every single frame. While the screen might get busy at times, making it difficult to grasp what is going on, the game looks drop dead gorgeous. The character models are also colourful and varied, and certainly look their part. Visually, Brawlout is simply outstanding.
The sound design of Brawlout is a pretty standard affair. The soundtrack is nice with enough adrenaline-filled music to keep your heads rolling. The sound effects are all right. There is no voice acting to speak of right now and nothing much to hear in terms of overall sound design.
Brawlout is a fun, fluid, and gorgeous-looking brawler that suffers from a lack of content and unstable net code. It needs something more to justify its price tag but it is one of those Early Access titles which has a lot of potential, and is worth a recommendation.