Brawl Busters – Sagoe Impressions
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Hey you! You’re busting my brawls! Knock it off!
Rock Hippo Productions teamed up with Weezor and SkeinGlobe to release a wacky online game like no other. Brawl Busters is a multiplayer online beat ‘em up title that’s focused on class-based teamwork and simple, but chaotic action. You can play as one of five different character classes and wreak havoc with some buddies across colorful urban arenas.
Now I know some of you may be thinking: “Isn’t this just another Team Fortress 2 ripoff?” and you can STOP RIGHT THERE because it is in fact NOT a TF2 clone! Granted, it looks similar to TF2 in terms of visual aesthetic, but the gameplay here is pretty original. Anyway, I’ve been pretty excited about this one and I got some hands on time during closed and pre-closed beta. OnRPG has been handing out 2000+ beta keys since closed beta started, but for those that weren’t so fortune to grab one, here’s my overall experience and impressions!
Everything starts off in a dark locker room where you pick out one of eight different characters, ranging from bratty-to-manly looking guys and cute-to-sexy looking girls. I went with the teenage boy look and wanted to make my character look like a young Jimmy Hendricks, but the amount of costume options were lacking, so I went with making a funky looking black guy version of Slash from Guns N’ Roses.
Finding games in the lobby was quick and easy since the game’s design and interfaces were incredibly clean. The main game modes available during closed beta were Team Deathmatch, Glow Rush and Zombie Mode. TDM was pretty basic: Find an enemy player, beat them up for points. First team to reach nine points wins. Pretty simple, but of course, you got to watch out for environmental hazards, use items earned from destructible objects, grab kiosk boosts for your team and whatnot.
Zombie mode is very self-explanatory, but I’ll say it anyway: Beat up waves of zombies with up to three other friends and survive. Personally speaking, I’m quite partial to zombie modes in any video game, but here in Brawl Busters, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it was because waves only go up to five, and the overall difficulty didn’t feel very challenging, but it is a good way to earn EXP and BP (Buster Points), so I expect a lot of people will be grinding that mode for hours.
Now Glow Rush was my favorite and somewhat rage inducing, because it’s sort of a spin on TDM, but players will have to collect 43 glow (such an odd number, by the way…) from enemy players or have more glow than the enemy team before the time runs out to win. I liked this mode because teaming up on a player with a lot of glow is fun, since getting a kill and assist with another player splits up the glow amount among those two players. It’s almost NEVER a good idea to collect a lot of glow for yourself, unless you have backup (and unless you’re playing with friends, you most likely won’t.) It’s a mode where you really have to pay attention to every little thing that’s happening, and whether or not your team is focusing could mean the difference between glow being tossed back and forth or matches ending in less than a minute. Overall, Glow Rush is great… when you’re playing with competent teammates.
I tried out all the classes. Basically: Sluggers whack homing baseballs from a distance with no target priority, Firefighters shoot water balls and spam shields from a distance while being slow as snails, Boxers perform hit-&-runs to distract and chase down enemies while having crappy HP and attack range, Blitzers can WOMBO COMBO while tanking and dealing out heavy damage with slow attack speed, and Rockers fight with balanced stats, all while being able to stun and frustrate.
Overall, I’d say the classes are pretty balanced. Their strengths and weakness are apparent, and I have yet to get caught in a battle and lose due to imbalance. It’s just another one of those games where you’re only as good as your team, so if your team sucks, you suck! Speaking from experience here, since I’ve played in tons of matches where I managed to get 5+ kills for my team and we still lost because some guy on my team wanted to fight an unwinnable 3-on-1.
There were only a couple of maps to play on, but each map requires different strategies. My personal favorite is Loco Square, because it’s the biggest map available and filled with lots of traps to abuse. There’s also an underpass were you can get hit by a speeding car, and let me tell you, I’ve gotten more assist kills from that crazy speeding car than from my teammates in any match.
Oh Black Sedan, you never let me down!
Just for some general thoughts: The game modes are really fun, but there needs to be a lot more. SkeinGlobe should really take a look at other team based games and consider adding more objective game modes, and a good old fashion CTF mode can’t hurt.
The core combat mechanics are very simple, and personally I think the simplicity of the controls is quite appealing, but after playing for a long while, they could use a bit of spicing up. The game is chaotic as it is, but it gets dull when you’re performing/spamming the same three moves over and over again. At the most, the only real advanced combo tactic I could muster was bomb juggling.
(I once bomb juggled an enemy into this dinosaur’s mouth. AWESOME.)
Adding a few more combo and defensive opportunities to core mechanics would make me happy, but nothing that would change up the mechanics completely, since I want the core gameplay to stay simple.
My time spent playing Brawl Busters sure was enjoyable, with the only real issues being lack of content and core mechanics being a bit too simple to enjoy in the long run. As it is, Brawl Busters is a game that you’d want to play during a nice coffee break, but not for hours on end. There’s a lot of untapped potential in this game, so I’ll be keeping my eye on this one, because I sure hope to see it evolve into something great.
For more info on Brawl Busters, check out our profile page here at OnRPG, and don’t forget to check out our video impressions by ColbyCheeze!