Brawl - Switch Review


Bomberman has seen its up and downs over the years, but the overall formula is still a popular one with a lot of players. Brawl seeks to capitalize on a lot of the same gameplay elements while adding a horror aesthetic. All in all, it is a competently made game, but not one that does enough to make it a more compelling play than the games that clearly inspired it.

I first played Bomberman back on the NES, and at the time it captured my imagination with its unique take on strategy and action. Over the years the Bomberman series has tried some new things, and some have worked better than others, but at its core it is a better competitive party game than single player experience.

Brawl largely follows suit, offering some single player content that is adequately structured - but frankly just not as much fun as playing against a human opponent. That's not to say that the AI is terrible in any way, it's just not overly creative. Beyond that, there's just something to said for a bit of couch sharing taunting, as Chris and I found on multiple occasions.


The biggest change from the bright, colorful Bomberman titles is the aesthetic. There is a campy horror theme at play here, and while it is not actually scary really, the idea of using Evil Clowns and Demonic Teddy Bears is quite the departure from vibrantly colored chubby robots. Where Brawl is probably at its most interesting is the implementation of its characters. Not just the horror appearance, but in how the characters actually play. They have their own unique abilities, and while in Bomberman the characters are the same for the sake of balance, there is something to be said for a girl with a bear who can throw a dagger and teleport being unique from the other combatants.

Despite the unique look and feel of the game as well as the characters with their different abilities, I could not help but come away feeling that Brawl was merely and adequate Bomberman clone. The basic gameplay elements are all here, with a stadium that you impact by taking out movement impeding bricks and trying to kill your enemy is all here. It is a respectable if unspectacular effort that doesn't really grow or add much more depth over time. The early impression is fine, but hour five really didn't feel all that different than hour one when things were said and done.


The AI ranged between predictable and borderline cheap / frustrating at times, and of course you can't really taunt a computer - so I definitely got more mileage out of the multiplayer. One nice touch is the that there are numerous unlockables. That provides a bit more mileage, I just wish the actual characters and world made me care about these unlockable gallery items more than I did.

If I were to score the single player versus the multiplayer components separately, I'd probably give the single player a four. I enjoyed the music more than the average visuals, and appreciate the effort to come up with single player content, even if some of the stages are more annoying than others (some of the duels were just frustrating and felt a bit unfairly stacked). Luckily the multiplayer is more entertaining, and an above average experience - I'd probably give that a six. So when examining the package as a whole, I come away with an overall average impression.

I can see myself breaking Brawl out when some friends are over, but probably won't spent any more time with the single player mode. It is a fair Bomberman clone that does a few things differently than the series it is inspired by, but doesn't do any of them well enough to make it a compelling play either.


Game Information

Platform:
Nintendo Switch
Developer(s):
Bloober Team SA
Publisher(s):
Bloober Team SA
Genre(s):
Action
Mode(s):
Single Player
Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4

PC and Mobile

Source:
Provided by Publisher




Article by Nick
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