It is a rare occasion that a game invents and masters a new game style at the same time. Unfortunately, BRAWL does neither. This game has an almost identical style to that of Bomberman, but with a horror genre twist. But like most twists to classic video game styles, BRAWL doesn’t quite hit the mark. It just felt like a bad knock-off, in the way that Super Toy Cars was a bad knock-off of Mario Kart 8 or Lego Racers. All this game really made me want to do is just play Bomberman, which could be seen as a bonus.
Despite being a ‘mini-game’ style of gameplay BRAWL actually did have a story mode. There are 8 characters to choose from whose stories you can explore, each one being a thing that can be considered “frightening” to some people. At first 4 characters are unlocked for you, but you have to unlock the rest of them by playing the other character’s stories. All characters have their own abilities and differences, but none of them really made an impact on my decision, so I just picked whoever looked the coolest. The characters were out of: Clown, Girl (with a Bear on her back), Dummy, Puppet Lady, Wrestler, Mime, Thief and the Toymaker. I did like the amount of effort that was put into the character art; for the most part they looked quite impressive.
Although there was a lot of story content, content meaning long voice overs of a man doing a crappy James Spader impression, none of it is all that enticing. I found myself quickly becoming bored with the short stories for each character; these didn’t really mean much to me. With a game like this I prefer to delve into the action, but story mode just seemed like a needless long-winded waste of time. I don’t feel a story mode works in these types of games; maybe a list of missions would have fitted better (and would have cut out the VO). There were also challenges which were just endless horde modes, so this didn’t offer the same variation as missions would.
The plus side of BRAWL was the multiplayer aspect; you had the option of Local or Online Multiplayer. Local Multiplayer offered 5 modes to choose from: Versus – which is more of a free for all mode, Duel – this is a one v one mode for those feeling cocky, Classic – where you get a starting ability for each character, Sumo – where you have to knock your opponents off the arena to win and finally, my personal favourite, Color Domination – where you have to cover the map with your player colour to win. This last mode is by far the best, and it felt like a trip back to the days of Crash Bash. Despite the story not being great, this addition of competition in the local multiplayer is enjoyable enough to keep you entertained.
The online multiplayer is a different story; I couldn’t find anyone to play with. There are two modes: Arena – Basically versus from local play and Duel – Which is duel from local play. It was a shame I didn’t get to try this, as I wanted the chance to show off my mad skills at a game evidently nobody plays online. There is also an Extras section, where from points you’ve earned by playing games you can spend on concept art and virtual figurines. I didn’t think this idea was bad, but it did seem to be a sorry attempt at the trophy system in Super Smash Bros.
Overall I didn’t think BRAWL was that good, so I’m going to give it a 5. I admit, the local multiplayer was quite fun when you had a friend to play with. However, the story and the gameplay glitches outweighed the positives. At times the screen would jump which, in a game like this, could completely ruin your fun. If Bomberman is your thing, then give this a try. If it isn’t, then don’t. I’d recommend it if you have a lot of friends, because you are stuck with the story mode if you are the only one who wants to play. In all fairness BRAWL did try, but putting a spin on an already established game style was where it went wrong. BRAWL: Fun with friends, boring on your own.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10
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