Brawlhalla is an amazing take on the “arena-style arcade brawler” genre if that is what you’d describe it as. Most people are familiar with the long running and cult following of the Smash series by Nintendo, Hal Laboratory, and Bandai (Smash 4 for Wii U and 3DS). Brawlhalla makes its own path in the genre of previous Smash games, with developers carefully listening to the Smash community when refining the game. That being the case, Brawlhalla plays a lot like a Smash game (feeling somewhere between the first Super Smash Bros. and Melee) and has its own set of varied heroes, weapon pick-ups, gadgets, and generous map selection. Did we mention that the game is also FREE?
BRAWL YOUR EYES OUT
With it’s strict 2D and colorful art-style, Brawlhalla is charming in its own way but above all else, it plays as smooth as butter. Being frank, the UI and such feel very underwhelming and super bland but if you were subjected to a handheld version for the 3DS/Switch/Vita… the whole aesthetic feel would pop a lot better on those small screens. Still, you can’t play a game like this on a small screen and get such an authenticate couch Brawl session with up to 4 local players. Couch play is the best feature to see when the industry all but writes it off and with that Brawlhalla also has a nice online offering suite to compliment. If you aren’t akin to local offline play or competing with bots in a tournament, you can hop online for both casual matches, ranked matches, and even a “Brawl of the Week” mode that modifies the game-play for that extra wackiness.
RATED FREE, FOR EVERYONE
The best part about this game is the undeniable absent cost to pick it up and try it out. In a certain fashion like League of Legends and other hero based games, each week a new roster of fighters will rotate for your play as during that week, if you are a free player. If you aren’t sold on the combat or all the heroes, just wait a few weeks and you’ll get a good taste of them. A lot of the legends can feel mostly the same, even with different stats, but there is just something about being able to play as a green alien creature or a half crazed pirate that gets to you. You can purchase a DLC pack entitled “Founders Pack” that will give you ALL current and future “legends” a.k.a fighters, as well as an exclusive in-game avatar, name plate, and the Sentry IV sidekick.
If you are feeling extra customize-able, the shop also sells character skins and loot chests that are COSMETIC ONLY. Another crucial point to make is that there are no duplicates! None! Cosmetics, taunts, avatars, and crates can only be bought with the game’s real-money-to-game currency model, but each legend can be unlocked with credits you gain simply from playing the game. Some people in the industry should take notes because this is how you do it.
NOT SMASH BUT CLOSE ENOUGH
Brawlhalla is a lot like Smash but it has its own feel to it. For instance, the movement is very float-y while hanging off ledges and a lot of shenanigans you find in the Melee pro leagues wont be found here. There is no damage meter per hero to go off of when guaging how close competing players are to being swatted out of the map, but damage does accumulate in a similar fashion to the Smash titles. You have super moves you can power up and mix in with regular strikes to suite your play-style and to reign supreme as a Brawlhalla legend. So while its not Smash in total form, it is completely that in spirit and its a fun game to sit down and kick your buddies around on.