Review – Brawl
It might sound extremely weird, but I didn’t buy my Switch with the mandatory copy of Breath of the Wild, as I had previously purchased a copy for that game for the good old Wii U (you can check my review for it here). In fact, Super Bomberman R was my physical game of choice when I got my hands on a brand new Nintendo portable, and despite being far from an amazing game, I still play it every now and then and hold it dearly, especially after the myriad of free updates that made the game a lot more interesting ever since its launch. I do understand people’s complaints about that game being overpriced, however, and it was only a matter of time before an indie title came along to capitalize on that factor.
For all intents and purposes, Brawl IS Bomberman. It plays exactly the same, the explosions work the same way, the power-ups are the same, the chaotic (local-only) multiplayer is the same. The main difference here lies on the game’s setting. Whereas Bomberman is set on a shiny-happy family-friendly anime setting, Brawl can best be described as the angsty, egdy, Hot Topic-inspired version of that game. Think of it as Bomberman meets the tone and setting from Twisted Metal. The roster includes your mandatory creepy clown, a bare-breasted mannequin (never thought I’d ever see a nipple in a Nintendo console), a psychopath wrestler, and many other lovely characters. It doesn’t sound very fitting in theory, and I can guarantee you it is even less fitting when you actually play it.
Most of the game’s main issues are a result of its edgy tone. The visuals are severely boring and sometimes a gameplay hindrance due to the game’s extremely bland color palette and bad lighting effects. As the vast majority of the arenas are set in abandoned warehouses and derelict factories, there’s very little lighting available, with some areas being so dark and hard to navigate you can’t even properly see powerups or walls.
Dude, you’re trying way too hard
The sound department is also mediocre at best. Sure, the game has a somewhat alright creepy soundtrack, but it features near nonexistent sound effects (bombs barely make sound when they explode), as well as an excessive amount of voice acting. The voice acting can only be described as something that tries so hard to sound dark and gloomy it actually ends up sounding silly. The only slightly similar counterpart I could come up with is the pathetic voice acting present in one of last year’s worst games, Drawn to Death. Yeah folks, it’s that bad.
Combine those design flaws with a huge analog stick sensitivity (something that also plagued Super Bomberman R), a bland story mode and no online multiplayer whatsoever, and you’ll get a game that’s alright at its best and cringeworthy at its worst.
I can barely see what’s in front of me
If you remove the unnecessarily edgy and (im)mature setting, there’s very little that differs Brawl from any other Bomberman game released over the last couple of decades. It plays decently and it can provide a bit of fun due to its simple gameplay, but it never manages to surpass its source of inspiration in terms of fun and charm. Super Bomberman R is still more expensive than Brawl, but it’s also a better title. Plus, you can play as Silent Hill‘s Pyramid Head in that game, in case you’re desperate for some horror elements in a game like this.
The cel-shaded graphics are detailed, but the game suffers from a terrible color palette and terrible lighting.
The typical gameplay you’d find in a Bomberman game, including the same excessive analog sensitivity.
An uninteresting and creepy soundtrack with dull voice acting and subpar sound effects
Fun Factor: 6.0
Brawl plays just like Bomberman with an unnecessarily edgier tone. The lack of online multiplayer is a bummer.
Final Verdict: 6.0
Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4 and PC.
Copy of Brawl was provided by publisher.