Friday, September 7

Review: BroForce [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Growing up in the 80s I was always a massive fan of big-time action movies. Over-the-top in their violence, ridiculousness, and sometimes even camp I’ve continued to return to these classics as well as share them with my kids. There’s a special sort of thrill when the music queues up, you get some quick cuts of them getting their gear on, and the montage before the finale goes into full effect… and the majority of that spirit is embodied in BroForce. Whether you’re mowing down enemies, climbing walls with your knife, or simply blowing things up real good BroForce is a perfect love letter to the movies of that era.


From a humble beginning as probably the most appropriate action acquisition Rambro, you’ll quickly begin recruiting what will eventually become a substantial stable of action heroes, heroines, and a few surprises. Whether it’s rocket launcher wielding Brommando, the slicing and dicing speed of the daywalker Brade, or even characters of sometimes dubious use like Indiana Brones or The Brocketeer every captured soldier you release on your missions will gets you closer to the next unlock. The fact that every time you spawn or release a new captive changes up which bro you’re using randomly makes it a real crapshoot and will often force you to make the best of the situation, sometimes resulting in surprising results and a sense of accomplishment when you manage to pull things off anyway. While there’s a rough core set of moves to use like your primary and secondary weapons, your close-up melee attack, and the ability to climb walls, each plays quite differently and is suited to different situations.


What’s great, and sometimes aggravating, is that those different situations are precisely what you’ll encounter along the way in this reasonably meaty campaign. There are scenarios where going in with guns blazing is best, ones where you’ll need to show a bit more caution, and then some pretty tough and varied boss battles to contend with as well. As if your armed and armored enemies weren’t enough to worry about the environment itself can be absolutely lethal, especially as you get further into the campaign. You’ll need to be careful to avoid minefields, spike pits, sentry guns, explosive barrels, things like runaway buzzsaw blades, and more. Of course, with some creativity and planning you can also often find ways to use these things against your enemies, often leading to bloody carnage everywhere. If things weren’t crazy enough on your own you can also play through the maps with up to 4 players locally or online as well, though beware that it can get pretty confusing as the screen erupts with explosions almost constantly because of this.


As much as I’ve enjoyed this game since it was in Early Access on PC and the Switch port seems to exhibit no noticeable technical issues that isn’t to say some things weren’t lost in translation. In particular access to the level editor and community-made maps, things that really extended the life of the title on PC, are a no-show on Switch so you’ll need to stick to the main campaign’s varied an excellent maps only. In addition, while online play is workable it feels like the host’s connection heavily dictates performance so enjoyment can be hit or miss technically without even accounting for the fact that some people simply aren’t very good at the game and four people at once is a recipe for chaos.


If you’re an old school shooting fan who cut their teeth on the likes of Contra and Metal Slug, BroForce is the testosterone-juiced progeny of those titles and an action geek’s collection of old VHS tapes. Its intense and sometimes maddening action, insistence on positioning explosive barrels everywhere, reverent love and humor concerning action icons, gravel-voiced announcer, and screeching metal guitar riffs at the conclusion of every level absolutely feel like home for me. While it may be a little touchy with its controls and aggravating at times it’s still a whole lot of ridiculous fun!



Score: 8

Pros:
  • The logo, to this day, cracks me up and summarizes the game’s spirit really well: A flexing eagle in front of the American flag
  • If you enjoy classic action movies the deep character list is sure to put a smile on your face
  • Far more varied in its action and boss fights than you’d likely assume

Cons:
  • The random spin of the wheel dictating which bro you may get at any time can sometimes be infuriating as you keep getting characters who are poorly suited to the situation at hand
  • Sometimes it can be hard to tell precisely what may have killed you
  • While playing with friends or strangers online can be fun the network connectivity can be tricky and adding more chaos to the screen can make it tough to follow the action and stay alive