Legends in the making
At Pax East in Boston this year, I got my first taste of Brawlhalla, the fighting game that stars the likes of mythical monsters and interesting human-like characters. I was impressed with what I saw then and was able to get a cool Brawlhalla t-shirt to celebrate my first Pax East. Fast-forward to fall but I won’t say the temperature is cooler because anyone who was in Boston during Pax this year knows that it was hit with a blizzard. Anyway, Let’s get right into the review, there’s a lot to cover!
Brawlhalla originally released on PC and later on in the lifespan of the game made its way over to the PlayStation 4. The minute the menu opens for the PlayStation 4 version of the game, you can tell that it looks like it was just rebranded from the PC version to run on the PS4. It has the same layout as a PC game starting menu would. It has different modes or areas that you can make in-game purchases with in-game Blue Mammoth coins or real money from the PlayStation Network. You’ll also get different cycling game modes and updates during the main menu such as the “Brawl of the Week” mode which is a rotating gameplay mode that awards different weekly victory bonuses.
As I mentioned before, the Blue Mammoth coins allow you to make in game purchases for all kinds of things. You’ll have the option to purchase such things as Legends (characters), skins for the characters and there are a lot of them, taunts, sidekicks, and KO effects. There is more that you can spend your hard earned coins on but you’ll have to find out what they are on your own. Since it was close to Halloween when the game released, most of the purchase items and updates were themed around Halloween but that’s another way the game reminds me of an online game, updating around certain holidays. You could get your hands on certain Halloween skins and items and I would keep my eyes open around the major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving to see if special skins/items were coming out for players to purchase.
An interesting part of Brawlhalla is the Legends, which other fighting games would call fighters. Each legend has quite a few skins that they can fight in as well as different weapons they can use. You can get your hands on the skins or weapons that you want to use for your favorite legend and set that legend to fight that way every time you use it. I was getting pretty good with KOR and the hammer-like weapon so I could in the future set up a KOR to fight like that every time, for example.
There are different colors you can use as well as other weapons that you can get through various means but an interesting part of the game is you don’t start the battle with the weapons you picked. Legends get a long-range weapon, like a hammer or sword and a close range weapon like gauntlets but they appear at random times during the match and are up for grabs. Anyone can grab the weapon and use it to their advantage but it could be a detriment as well if you aren’t so great with gauntlets and someone else grabs the hammer! Another interesting part of the legends is their lore or backstory where you get to find out all about your favorite legend and see how they came about in the Brawlhalla universe. That was an interesting read and fans of the series should give it a look!
You’ll also be able to level up your legends the more you use them in combat. Each legend has different stats that will get better over the course of you using them more. Categories that will increase while you train are strength, dexterity, defense, and speed. These are all assets that the more you level up, the better you will fare in battle, both online and offline. Each legend has a similar graphic style/look but that adds to the charm of the game. The look of each legend portrays the feeling that the game doesn’t take itself seriously and does at the same time. Each fighter has a large head and little body but the detail that went into each character and their various skins/lore give off the feel of “not taking seriously” and “taking itself seriously” at the same time.
Brawlhalla has various gameplay modes, both for online play and offline play and I recommend playing offline until you get used to the controls because the players online are good and it won’t go well for you if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can play online versions of “free for all” which is the basic online mode against other people, “strikeout 1V1” is a mode where you get” to use different legends for stock during battle, and the interesting “experimental” mode where you get to test out features released for testing purposes for the masses. There are also “ranked” gameplay modes that allow “1V1” and “2V2” battles against real people. There is also modes that allow you to play local offline with friends, the “couch party.” You’ll also be able to train, play tournaments, and play the tutorial mode to get the basics of the controls.
Brawlhalla plays very similar to Super Smash Brothers where you have weapons that appear at certain times during the match and you can “air jump” twice and wall jump to survive. Having the ability to wall jump adds to the strategy because to save yourself from dying, you really just need to get to a wall/post structure and jump up it. You can save yourself from dying if you can wall jump but at the same time, you’re at the mercy of your opponents when you have to climb up the wall because they can set up a counter attack. As I mentioned before, make sure you know the controls before you attempt online battles. The controls are easy to pick up and play right away but will take time to master. Practice makes perfect and there are various gameplay modes that will allow you to work on your skills as a fighter. Brawlhalla has gameplay modes that allow online play and offline play. You’ll be able to level up your legend to help in battle and make fighting easier for you. There are various skins and other unlockables for legends and could be the difference for you in battle! It’s these reasons that I’m giving Brawlhalla for the PlayStation 4 an 8.5/10. I would like to thank Blue Mammoth Games for the review code.