< EARLY ACCESS! >
*Note: Early Access means the game is currently in development and is not yet fully released. The developers are still adding new features based on the feedback of the players.
Brawlhalla is a 2D fighter game for the PC (soon to be on Playstation!); it’s free for play in Steam, and will still be free after it is fully released in the second half of 2016.
Brawlhalla’s interface reminds me very much of a lot of action RPG iPad/Tablet games: you get daily login bonuses, you follow missions, and even have the “What’s New” window pop up as the game opens. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen when I chose to get the game while I was browsing Steam. I only clicked it because the art looked cool.
The game is in 2D and I don’t really recall having played action games like those save for Marvel vs. Capcom, Streetfighter, etc. It’s a lot like Super Smash Bros. Brawlhalla’s Legends actually remind me of a chibi version of DragonFable which I used to play a lot as a kid. There is a lot of variety among the “Legends” and you even get to choose their color schemes, and if you’ve played enough to acquire enough Gold, you can purchase Skins (costumes), Item Skins (weapon designs), taunt poses, and the like. Although you can only choose a specific set unless you purchase the other Legends. I checked again today, and my usual choice, Queen Nai, is unavailable. There is a weekly rotation which offers you 6 free characters, unless of course you’ve already purchased the specific Legend.
As for the stages where you brawl, it’s a very minimal design with a pretty background and has a limited number of platforms since you also fight in the air. Throwing your opponent off and letting them fall increases your score (but I also fall off even if they don’t hit me anyway), so it isn’t the typical “deplete your opponent’s HP” type of action game.
Each background corresponds to the theme of the stage, but the environment can’t be interacted with, nor can the environment interact with you. There are a couple of moving platforms, but maybe the game could be more exciting if one stage had a “seesaw” type of platform, but then again, who knows, both you and your opponent just might end up falling a lot, haha!
Controls and Gameplay
Very minimal usage of controls so it’s nothing too complicated. You only use the arrow keys, letters Z, X, C, and V in battle, but you can also choose to change what keys to use in the settings. You can even use your mouse! I have had no trouble with the controls at all, and as you continue to play, you start to develop some sort of strategy of utilizing what you can do with the weapons your Legend has.
Brawlhalla drops each Legend (usually you fight 4, but you can opt to play 1 on 1, depending on which game mode you choose) on the platform and for a while you are weaponless, and you will have to wait for weapons or other items to appear on the screen. You don’t get to choose whether it’s a spear, a hammer, etc. only certain types of weapons are available depending on your character. You have the option to throw, attack, do a heavy attack, and depending on where you direct your attacks, you can have different moves. Each Legend has their own special move and as you get used to playing with a specific character, you learn how to properly control which buttons to press for a better fighting style. I’ve come across other players very skilled in that type of button mashing to the point where I could not counterattack well.
It also has different game modes that allow you to play singleplayer, multiplayer, and even online. You can also group yourself into different teams. For single player, you have the training mode, tournament, and can play against bots. Playing online lets you fight others playing the game and the cool part about it is you can also add friends. Custom online lets you choose who to play with, so you create a game room with just your friends. You are also allowed to chat. This game mode and the Ranked game mode allows your Legend to level up. You can either play 1 vs 1, or 2 vs 2. Playing in this game mode usually helps fulfill your missions, which in exchange gives you extra gold.
“Couch Party” has settings that allow you to play other types games such as Snowbrawl, bombsketball, brawlball, etc. with completely different objectives. You can play with up to 8 different robots, and even other human players, although I’m still figuring out how that’s supposed to work. You can also do this for Custom Online.
The background music I think suits the game very well, and changes depending on the chosen stage. Sound effects while playing are only from the weapons and not from the characters, which I think is just fine.
Story / Lore
It’s really interesting that each and every character has their own backstory already and how they entered Valhalla, although I’m quite confused as to why Valhalla exists and what that world is. This honestly doesn’t have to be answered, I suppose, but I wanted to get to know the world a bit more, maybe an introduction. I wondered if, like Super Smash Bros., each Legend came from a specific story and they’re coming together through this game, but I’m mostly the type of person that likes stories and I get a little too involved sometimes if I like a game.
There are some bugs in the game; sometimes I play and suddenly find myself on the other side of the screen more than thrice in one battle. The lag also gets to be really bad that the opponent pretty much already has the upper hand since I most likely am just running around hitting the air. If not that, I find that I’ve fallen even if I haven’t moved, and sometimes even my opponent tries to hit me and ends up falling. I’ve checked, and it doesn’t seem to be my internet connection. So far, that’s all; the game hasn’t restarted or closed on its own, although I have experienced a battle where I found that I couldn’t move at all, and somehow the game just ended with me being the winner. Does that stop me from playing? Yes.
…. Okay, I lied, I waited and resumed my play. I still play from time to time when I’m not doing schoolwork.
This game is really enjoyable and so far, I haven’t gotten bored. I’m still at the stage of developing the character/s I like. As the game is still in development, I really look forward to whatever the developers will be adding, and also since it is coming to Playstation, I’m already ready to tell my friends about it so I can play it with them. I haven’t actually had any conversations yet with other players other than saying “gg” since everyone’s pretty focused on playing/moving forward, as am I, but so far so good. This probably won’t be a problem once I get my friends to play.
Rating: 8 / 10
Completely free to play! Unless you plan to purchase the All Legends Pack. Download Brawlhalla on Steam.