Title: Brawlhalla Review
Available On: PS4, Microsoft Windows, Mac
Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
Publisher: Blue Mammoth Games
Genre: Fighter, 2D, Action, Multiplayer
Official Site: http://www.brawlhalla.com/
Final Release Date: October 17, 2017
Where to Buy it: PlayStation Store, Steam
What started off as an idea to expand the fighting genre into free-to-play territory back in 2014, when Brawlhalla was first shown at PAX East, has turned into one of the most unexpected successes of 2017. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise to those who have played the beta for either PS4 or PC/Mac; it showed signs of greatness for the past 3 years while in development. After being fully released on October 17, 2017, for the PS4 and Windows and Mac operating systems by Blue Mammoth Games, the multiplayer fighter has done just as much for the genre than Super Smash Brothers.
Don’t get me wrong, Super Smash Brothers is the game that primed Brawlhalla for its success, as it paved the way for other fighters of that nature to enter the world of eSports and triumph as well. But what Brawlhalla has done is create a free-to-play platform, much like the one you see in League of Legends, that is accessible to anyone with a computer and/or PS4. There’s no more of that struggle of trying to find someone to play with, like in Super Smash Brothers, because, in Brawlhalla, there are a variety of platforms you can challenge your friends in. Steam or the PlayStation Store makes it easy to download, while its multiplayer features make it easy to find a match with someone around your skill level, friend or not. Offline play lets you play locally, too, which lets you hang out with friends at home for a couch party.
Because it’s free-to-play, there are certain ways you can unlock the characters: you can either save up enough gold to buy each individual champion (which would still end up being free) or you can buy one of the editions that gives you all the characters. Like Riot Games did with League of Legends, Blue Mammoth Games gives you the choice to either be patient and eventually unlock all the characters, or pay for them. The choice to have either is an excellent marketing strategy and helps build player loyalty. But the character and weapon skins and other features can only be bought with Mammoth Coins, an in-game currency that has to be purchased with real money.
Although you’re required to dish out real money in order to obtain these other features, I think that, because they’re really not necessary to have in the game, it’s an acceptable element for Blue Mammoth Games to include. I can understand some people’s frustration with it though. But the fact that Blue Mammoth Games gives you a number of choices in regards to your purchases makes Brawlhalla a must-have, especially since you can play the full game without having to pay a dime, all while the developer continuously produces new characters, skins, etc. for you to obtain. With all the DLC’s some video games make you buy in order to really get the full experience, what Blue Mammoth Games is doing is something you don’t see much these days.
The gameplay of Brawlhalla is as good as it gets. The fighting has its redundancies, in a way. There are different weapons that the characters use, but each weapon only has one set of basic attacks associated with it. But that’s what makes it so amazing. This aspect of the game forces you to master the combos associated with each weapon while you incorporate the special attacks of each character into the combos so that you get the most out of the attacks. Your enemies have the ability to dodge–similar to a wave dash in Super Smash Brothers, but much easier to use, which is also a great aspect–so timing your attacks is essential in dealing enough damage to knock your enemy off the stage. You also have to play around objectives–the items and weapons–in order to ensure victory. There are skills needed to be successful in each match, and that’s why Brawlhalla is a growing eSport.
Ever since the game was first introduced in 2014, it has been growing exponentially, to the point of Blue Mammoth Games getting the necessary funds and fanbase to first create the Brawlhalla Championship Series in 2016 and now the Brawlhalla Circuit. Because Brawlhalla is free-to-play, anybody who has the desire to become a professional gamer can make their dream a reality with practice. That’s what I love most about this game. Like League of Legends, it provides you an opportunity–free of charge–to be rewarded for the hours you put into mastering the game. We’re in a new age of video games; Brawlhalla is one of those helping to usher it in.
Verdict: Brawlhalla is a 2D fighter that combines elements seen in Super Smash Brothers and League of Legends and expands on them to make a flawless multiplayer game perfect for competition or hanging out with friends. The gameplay forces you to strategically plan out attacks while playing around the various items and weapons that spread themselves around the map. The free-to-play element gives you the choice to play for free, while also allowing you the choice to purchase other editions of the game so that you get more features/characters right away. There’s something here for everyone; whether you’re a casual gamer or an aspiring professional.
- Easy access to multiplayer
- Consistently being updated with new characters, etc.
- Gameplay requires strategy
- Free-to-play with a choice to pay
- eSports potential
- Paying for features, like skins, may frustrate some players