Early Look: Brawlhalla
While my thoughts are in the lengthy paragraphs below, you’ll find lots of information at the following two links.
Brawlhalla on Steam : http://store.steampowered.com/app/291550/
Brawlhalla Wiki : http://brawlhalla.gamepedia.com/Brawlhalla_Wiki
My video review can be found over here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw7yA118uyQ
What is Brawlhalla? It’s a competitive 2d fighting game in the vein of “Smash Brothers” (more specifically Melee). Featuring a colourful cast, excellent speed and control and a generally pleasing asthetic there is lot to like about the game.
First, if you’ve played any of the Smash series you know how it works. A simplified combat system means you have two attack buttons and a jump button. You can dodge and throw as well. Light and heavy attacks are modified with the direction pad or arrow keys, meaning moving horizontally and attacking is different than vertical movement plus attacks or simply attacking while standing still.
When you have taken damage, attacks that land on you push you away. The more damage, the further you go. Your character doesn’t have a health bar, instead you lose when you leave the screen (being knocked too far up, across or down without being able to stay inside the map).
Now, this isn’t simply a clone. The characters each have two weapons that they’ll equip by collecting the sword power up that is dropped randomly in the stage. This alone means you have two stances for each character giving a bit more up front to learn about the character.
Another big difference is monetization. At the moment, the game is in closed beta to which you can sign up for a key or you can pay for a founder pack which comes with a key for yourself and some to give away. When the game is finished, however, it’s going to be a free to play fighter with a rotating roster of free characters like League of Legends has and while I cannot comment on what that means in the long term for the game I can say that what they have now is an excellent game and the developers very much listen to feedback in the current beta period. We do know that characters will eventually be paid to be unlocked and that both characters and weapons will have skins that can be purchased.
As far as game modes are concerned, there is Couch Party which is the normal game mode. You can change things like teams, number of lives, time for the match and so on for this mode if you want to toss things up. There is single player which splits tournament and versus bot mode. Online mode and Custom Online are basically Couch Party mode but with people over the internet. Lastly, there is a ranked 1v1 mode which puts you into a worldwide ladder.
So all of that being said as to what the game is and not what I think of it. Because the game holds a very similar style to the likes of Smash Brothers it’s going to be compared to it often and I think that comparison holds up. While the roster isn’t nearly as vast and the graphics not nearly as polished it feels like I’m playing Melee for the first time all over again. I was always low tier at that game but so far they have the balance just right and if the game left early access right now without adding a thing it feels complete.
Do I think that the game is worth the price they’re asking? That’s hard to say given that everything is unlocked at the moment. Presuming it’s similar to League of Legends, it should be fair but I can’t say if that means it will remain competitive. Smash enjoys a very large competitive playing field and to see Brawlhalla grow to be like that would be exciting, especially if they could attain E-Sports level gameplay. Frankly having a fighting game like this along side Dota2, Hearthstone or Starcraft would be a welcome addition to the E-Sports arenas.
As far as anything I dislike about the game, the sounds are nice but nothing particularly stands out. The backgrounds tend to be on the simpler side which works well with their art style but doesn’t really seem interesting. Not all the characters will appeal to everyone and there is a lack of uniformity in terms of theme which others might dislike. However, all my problems are nit picky asthetics with the purpose of having SOMETHING not be perfect about the game because from my brief time with it, I quite enjoyed the game altogether.