PC, Nintendo Switch
April 20, 2017
Angry Mob Games
Angry Mob Games
If like me you own a Nintendo Switch then you’ll likely agree that it’s been missing one thing since its launch last year, a ‘Smash’ genre type game. Well Brawlout by developer Angry Mob Games is here to fix all of our woes. After hitting PC back in April last year it is now making its way to consoles and what better console for a Smash Bros clone than the Nintendo Switch!
Brawlout is a fighting game in which up to 4 players fight against each other in your typical platform environments with slight variations. The characters use a variety of fighting moves made up of kicks and punches with special attacks thrown in. This Smash clone however does away with the Smash staples of blocking, grabbing and edge-grabbing to instead insert a system based on combos more familiar with larger scale beat ’em ups such as Injustice and Tekken. It’s simple, each attack does damage increasing the opponent’s damage percent, when the damage increases, the victim flies further. But here is where the combo system comes in. Fighting builds up the player’s Rage Meter, which fuels powerful special attacks. This adds an extra layer of strategy, as you’ll need to time triggering the Combo Breaker or Rage Mode and avoid being smashed to pieces by your opponent. In the end though the purpose of each battle remains the same, throw your opponents off the stage.
“Honestly it’s pretty straight forward, pick a fighter, pick a mode and smash / mash your little heart out.”
I’ll openly admit it right now, it’s been sometime since I have played a Smash genre style game. So I was tentatively excited when this Smash clone came my way. Whilst it wasn’t the new Smash Bros or reboot that my Nintendo Switch loving heart had been hoping for, it certainly looked to be an amazing substitute.
Booting up Brawlout and the menu system is pretty simple enough. A Quick Play mode will allow you to jump right in, Single Player offers you the ability to work your way through a no fuss story mode whilst Online and Local Multiplayer are exactly what they seem. Honestly it’s pretty straight forward, pick a fighter, pick a mode and smash / mash your little heart out.
This is a pure brawler, you won’t find any items here like in Smash Bros to mix things up and to be honest that’s perfectly fine by me. Brawlout is a game that will kick your ass again and again unrelentingly, even on easy mode! So a lack of additional items to throttle your opponents with or be throttled with by the overly zealous AI-controlled characters is okay by me.
The best solution I can offer you for this inevitable ass whooping is to take the time to familiarise yourself with one of the fighters on Brawlout’s unique, albeit limited, roster. Spending time in practice mode learning the ins and outs to mastering a particular character will be crucial to you seeing any long-term victory in the arena. This might be a Smash genre game but it will take a lot more than some lucky button mashing to see you winning matches here. Practice really does make perfect as they say.
Talking about the roster leads me into one of the few issues I have with Brawlout. At first glance the roster would appear to be quite large but on closer inspections it’s actually rather limited for a Smash game. With 18 characters up for eventual selection (some of which are clone characters) you’ll only find 8 actually available to play upon launching the game.
Although of those 8 original characters available to play, Brawlout has definitely provided a unique line up. An indie title itself, Brawlout features cameos from other indie titles such as Hyper Light Drifter and Guacamelee going a long way to separating this Smash clone from others out there. Sadly for the most part, Brawlout’s extended roster of 10 remaining characters and added features are trapped behind an annoying unlock system which comprises of a mix of gems and coins that are spent on piñatas to smash.
If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like a loot box system in a Smash genre game then you’d be right! The only thing that Angry Mob Games hasn’t implemented (yet) is a pay to play system, keeping the store running purely via in-game currency instead. However after the fiasco of last year’s loot box wars (which seems unlikely to end any time soon) I’m sceptical as to whether Brawlout’s piñatas will remain on the free list for much longer.
Despite the lack of roster and the overwhelming feel of impending loot box doom I had whilst playing Brawlout, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it functioned running at 60fps both docked and undocked on the Nintendo Switch. To my surprise it also transitioned between game modes quite seamlessly, allowing me to swap over to Multiplayer Mode from Single Player with the ease of simply removing the joycons from the Switch console.
- Unique Characters with indie cameos
- Runs beautifully on the Switch
- Streamlined combat is fun and enjoyable
- Feels like it could easily become pay to play
- Computer difficulty is at times unforgiving
Overall Brawlout is a solid fighter game. It offers everything you would expect from an entry in the Smash genre whilst still mixing it up just enough to give fans something new as well. Although I personally felt the CPU difficulty could be a bit unrelenting at times, making the difficulty feel more like a Souls game than a Smash game. With some balance adjustments to the Arcade Mode and tweaks to the piñatas loot box system being the way to unlock fighters, Brawlout could easily become my new favourite fighter for the Nintendo Switch!