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BROFORCE Review: The Art of Blowing Stuff Up

Amid the pomp and parlor that triple-A titles typically present the audience, one South African based developer aims to satisfy that almost primeval craving for wanton destruction and mayhem at the expense of evil incarnate and all of his terrorist friends with a new parallax side-scrolling shoot ’em up appropriately named Broforce.

Rather than just revel in the senseless slaughter of it all like a certain Polish title that has since fallen under the ire of the collective gaming community, Broforce harkens back to those hallowed video game plots with a rather simple yet nostalgic narrative: Shoot the bad guy. Though it might be lacking in regards to story, the frenetic action and cartoony, bro-themed aesthetic will have you calling this short little indie gem a guilty pleasure in no time.

Characters: The Bros of the World

In this world of over-the-top action sequences and explosive set-pieces, only one team of international action heroes have the skills and experience necessary to take down the evil Satan and his evil legion of mercenary thugs.

Yes, you, and only you, are in command of this eponymous Broforce as they head all throughout the world to eradicate any and all terrorism to make the world safe for freedom and with such a wide roster of Bros to choose-from Rambro to Bro in Black-there’s guaranteed to be a bro that caters to your very particular play style.

From katana bros to flame-thrower bros, there’s a bro for everyone out there. Unfortunately, many of them require a certain amount of playtime to unlock, which I admire because it gives me an incentive to keep playing aside from just blowing everything up. To be entirely honest, however, the whole ‘bro’ theme can be a bit grating after a couple of hours of playing.

Source: technologytell.com

Source: technologytell.com

Some names are clever re-broinations of their Hollywood counterpart, highlights including Bronan the Barbarian and Brobocop, while other names come off as a bit more forced. Ellen Ripbro and The Brode – the bro incarnations of Aliens Ellen Ripley and Kill Bill‘s The Bride respectively – come off as a bit too ‘trying too hard’.

Furthermore, if your looking for a riveting narrative tale about love, loss, and explosive ordinance then you’ll probably have to look somewhere else. For the most part, the bros are simply the avatars of your wrath set upon a world that is not at all wholly prepared to combat your overwhelming power and, to be entirely frank, what more do you need?

You’re already playing as a bro-ified version of Snake Plissken throwing Molotov cocktails on everything in sight, do you really need any more excuse for a suspension of disbelief?

Gameplay: Shooty-Funtime Joy

For an over-the-top action game dedicated on simulating those golden days of ‘shoot the bad guy’, Broforce does an amazing job sticking with a simple mechanic in a fast-paced world of combat and explosions.

There is but one important gameplay feature that makes Broforce the frenetic, parallax scroller shoot ’em up that it is and it is thus: destructible environments, dim-witted terrorists, and above all an excessive amount of firepower.

You mix those up and you’ve got yourself a pretty accurate representation of what Broforce is.

It plays a lot like Metal Slug in that sense. You, a lone action star on their own in hostile territory with nothing but their weapon of choice and a slew of interesting unique abilities at your command in a world where one errant stray bullet or falling ceiling tile could mean the end for your mission. Sometimes you might even come up against evil generals or defected commandos who command but a shred of your awesome destructive power

It’s fun in its purest form, an experience untainted by unnecessary complexity but it is far from a perfect title.

Source: broforcegame.com

Source: broforcegame.com

Going back to those stray bullets and falling tiles, there happen to be a lot of things in the world of Broforce that mean to smear you and everyone you know across the jungle landscape. So much so that it often becomes difficult to discern just what exactly is happening in this massive clusterf*ck of gore and lead that plays across my computer screen.

All too often some random happenstance would cut my terrorist genocide short and I would be left shouting: “OH MY GOD, WHAT THE F*CK KILLED ME!?!”.

With a character so small and environments conveniently littered with inanimate objects that only wish to murder, maim, and dismember anything that happens to be near, on top of, or beneath it this kind of scene happened WAY too often.

Which is not to say that it’s a bad thing, though I might have died way too many times to the hands of explosive barrels and propane tanks, the emotional pain suffered is balanced out by the unintended comedy that tends to happen when you mix explosives with gunfire.

One well placed shot near an enemy spawn point will send those freedom-hating terrorists scurrying in every direction screaming about how much they hate being on fire.

If I were a clever man I would say that it felt a lot like Call of Duty without the morally detestable war crimes in terms of sheer fun factor but since I’m not a clever man I’m just going to say that, despite its short play time and insta-death all over the place, Broforce offers a uniquely engaging experience that s sure to entertain, if only for a moment.

Visuals: 8-Bit Pixely Goodness

The style of Broforce is one that aspires to capture the charm and nostalgia of those grand old titles of gaming days long gone and, for the most part, it does a very good job at evoking those old shoot ’em ups of generations’ past.

It’s very reminiscent of games like Contra and that aforementioned Metal Slug with more of a focus on vibrant colorful scenery and backdrops featuring sights ranging from war-torn Apocalypse Now Vietnam to war-torn Escape from New York urban setting.

Source: store.steampowered.com

Source: store.steampowered.com

It’s very big on the whole ‘vibrant battleground’ thing which tends to become a problem later on in the game when the enemies start coming at you in droves. Which, for all purposes, shouldn’t be a problem given that the main point of the game is to wade through as many entrails as you possibly can. However, with a character size that is entirely dwarfed by the epic grand scenery around them it can become very difficult just to discern what minuscule speck you are among the various other minuscule specks that clutter up your screen in the mad frenzy.

Yet, amidst the haze of explosions and blood effects, the game has enough environmental variance and gory death to keep the game interesting for the four or five hours you’ll spend playing it.

Characters: 4/5

  • Pretty barren character development.
  • So many bros… So many.
  • The puns, they burn…
  • A slew of iconic action heroes at your command.

Gameplay: 4.5/5

  • Frenetic and fast-paced.
  • Michael Bay would be proud.
  • Lot o’ nonsense going on over here.
  • CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT KILLED ME?!?
  • Still pretty fun.

Visuals: 4/5

  • Very Metal Slug-esque
  • Minimalist character design with a heavy emphasis on boss/environment.
  • Seriously, it looks like Metal Slug.

Overall: 4/5

Aside from all the nonsensical insta-death that arbitrarily decided to ruin my day, I found my first few hours of Free Lives’ Broforce to be a fun, quick distraction from all those wasted hours in Skyrim. It’s certainly lacking the depth and complexity that other games have (see previous Skyrim statement) but it does have all the fast-paced shooty gun-play that will certainly keep the action hero inside all of us entertained until we begin to smell the repetition.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

 

Cover image via

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2 Comments on “BROFORCE Review: The Art of Blowing Stuff Up”

  1. 02/06/2015 at 3:10 PM #

    Broforce makes me think that it should be an Adult Swim game.

  2. 02/07/2015 at 7:46 AM #

    Broforce is a lot of fun and so is Expendibros.

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