Brawlout is a party fighting game created by Angry Mob Games and attempts to win fans over who have enjoyed other fighters such as Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale and Super Smash Bros. With guest characters from indie games and their own unique characters, can this game win you over?
Release Date: April 20, 2017 (PC), December 19, 2017 (Switch), TBD 2018 (Xbox One, PS4)
Approximate Size: 1.8 GB
Genre: Party Fighting Game
Developed by Angry Mob Games
Published by Angry Mob Games
Review on Nintendo Switch
Up to four players (local, online, or CPU) can battle on one of the various stages until there is only one player remaining, similar to fighting with stock in Nintendo’s iconic fighter. There is no time battle, no items, or customization of the rules of any kind. Essentially you have only one type of fighting with only player count changing the dynamic. All the fighters have moves that try to make them feel different but a lot of them are moves seemingly ripped from Smash Bros. Almost frame by frame. One thing this game does unique to itself, when compared to the obvious inspirations of this game, is the Rage Meter.
The Rage Meter has two forms of use and both can be effective when executed in perfect timing. One is the Rage Burst system which allows players to break a combo and push the enemy back when the meter is halfway full. Your meter will fill as you receive and give damage and the Burst option is perfect to insert separation and allow you to effectively fight back. Rage Mode, available once the bar is completely full, acts as a buff and helps increase the damage you give and reduce the amount you receive. It’s effective and can change the outcome of the fight.
Here is my issue with gameplay. Breaking a combo is extremely difficult without the Rage Burst and I found myself on two ends of the spectrum and neither side was fun or rewarding. I either had the CPU locked in a combo with no worry of them escaping or I was the one devoid of hope. I’m sure this can be patched and the few times everything actually clicked, it was a marvelous time. Also, when you add more than one CPU they don’t fight each other like they do in smash if you are still around. What is supposed to be a free for all is really a three on one until your gone. Whether that’s a pro or con is up to you, I had no issues with it but was merely confused by it. There is also an issue with characters as a while during combat, they all feel weightless and zip across the stage too fast.
You level up your characters and this grants you currency for unlockables and stages. It’s a nice addition to the game and adds an incentive in playing as your preferred character as well as the other characters. There is the feeling that it is a grind because you need a lot of currency for the loot boxes, in the form of piñatas, and there is no way at the moment to use real money. Most of it is cosmetic items but there are fighters and stages to unlock. Even if real world money was implemented, you honesty wouldn’t need it.
When you aren’t in fighting online or locally, you have an arcade mode. Arcade mode is similar to Mortal Kombats ladder. Easy mode is one on one battles, medium had two CPU fighters, and hard mode adds three. What I found really cool with this mode is the dialogue before a battle your character has with another fighter. It was completely unexpected and added some more personality to the fighters. I spent most of my time here and it was time well spent. The game also offers challenges, some changing everyday, and completing them unlocks in game currency.
Online, for me, ran smooth. I didn’t encounter any issues when I found a game. That’s a bigger issue, finding a game. The longer the game has been out, the easier it’s been to find those games. I only have one issue with the online structure and it’s the biggest problem I feel this game has. Like other fighters, you can search for a game while you fight offline. However, once an opponent has been found a large grey square fills the middle of the screen asking you if you accept and then a timer to connect. As this is happening, you are still in a battle but you barely see anything and you’re handicapped. Especially if the online match doesn’t go through. Why is this important? Your performance with a character garners you experience points.
Whether your online or not, the game has this weird frame glitch that happens through out a match. It’s not lag because it happens offline, it’s a like a two second pause that happens and it ruins the flow of the game. I’m hopeful it’s something that can be patched because it could cost you a fight. Other than that, the game does run in full 60FPS in both docked and handheld, 1080P and 720P respectfully (If that matters to you).
As for local play, each player can use one Joycon to fight which means if you don’t have another controller, you at least have enough for two players. It runs the same as the other modes and I found this might be the best way to play this game. It transports you back to an older generation, my childhood, where you would go over people’s houses to play.
The game is pretty, character modes are nice, and the stages stick out. That’s what I liked the most about this fighter. Sure, the stages aren’t dynamic like Smash Bros. and are structured the same but the locales are varied and pleasant to look at. My favorite one being the Egyptian one, I love that stage. The characters all look different, but they are all based off an animal of some kind. Brawlout doesn’t have the iconic cast that Smash Bros. has and I think they should have gone out of their way to make them stand out. I feel they left a lot on the table by not trying to create their own iconic looking fighters. Instead they have this reliance on animal based characters, which isn’t a negative, but they just come out as generic and a lot more could have been done.
The two guest characters, Juan from Guacamelee and The Drifter from Hyper Light Drifter, stand out completely and might be the most fun to play with. Everyone chooses them online. My favorite character is Paco because of his unique tongue ability. The range on it is amazing and has saved me countless times. Essentially what it does is, the tongue stretches in a long distance and attaches to the stage and propels you forward. As a whole, presentation and graphics, there are no complaints. The menus are slick and easy to navigate and the framerate holds, with exception to that one weird instance we discussed earlier. Hopefully loading times get patched because sometimes they can take a while, its rare but you’ll notice it when it happens.
The first song that plays when you start the game does well to hype you up and tickle that adrenaline. It’s a nice beat and enjoyable to listen to. Impact, any move your character or opponent makes to each other or the stage, all have a nice sound effect. The unique abilities they have, such as Volt’s Blanka like Electric Thunder attack, sound impressive and the developers added more than I thought they might. No complaint in this department besides wanting more. I hope down the line we can get more of a soundtrack in the game, maybe character themes to choose to play in the various menus.
Brawlout is not a bad game, its actually a pretty good game, it just has some issues that can be rectified over time. It will not replace Super Smash Bros. so if that is your intention, you will be disappointed. Brawlout is its own game and I think if the developers are able to add more characters and make the ones already available more unique looking like the unlockable skins, make them feel more weighty, fix the frame pause thing that happens, and remove that giant grey screen when you are selected for a multiplayer match this game, as a whole, will be vastly more appealing. Despite all of this, why did I keep coming back? Very simple, its fun. Five minutes turned into fifteen and fifteen into forty-five. Even more appealing is the price because this game is kind of a steal at twenty bucks.
Graphics & Sound8.0/10
- Earn Unlockables
- Arcade Mode
- Local Play
- That Framerate Issue
- Weightless, Floaty, Characters
- Grey Screen When Multiplayer Opponent Found
- Generic Looking Characters
- Can Be A Grind