Review: Brawlout

Brawlout is a fighting game similar to the Smash Bros series.
Instead of depleting your opponents’ health, your objective is to knock them out of the arena until they run out of lives, and you are the last one standing.
I haven’t played Smash Bros games too much, so I will mostly be reviewing this as a standalone game as opposed to comparing them.

As you get hit by your enemies, a little “percentage” bar will increase above you character’s picture at the bottom of the screen. The higher that number is, the harder, faster and further you will fly away when someone hits you. So as a fight goes on for longer, everyone will be closer and closer to falling off the ledge everytime. It can be very exciting and intense.

At the moment there is only a local and online multiplayer mode, which are definitely the most important ones. You can add bots into the game, and tweak their difficulties at 9 different levels. The devs have said they plan to release a singleplayer campaign, as well as challenge modes and a survival mode.

At the moment, there are only 6 characters, which feels a little bit lacking, but the devs have promised 3 more character releases before the game leaves Early access, and that they will continue to create more after the release.
The characters don’t feel incredibly different, but their moves vary enough.

Your controls allow you to jump and dodge. You have one basic attack button, and one “special” button. Depending on where you move your character when pressing the button, you will perform a different move, so there are more than just two attacks. Although I haven’t found any real combos. And if they’re there, the game lacks a tutorial to teach me.
I personally feel like the simplistic nature of the combat is actually good, as it isn’t overly complex, but some people might be turned off by it.

It’s also worth mentioning that your “special” button uses up a red meter that fills up throughout battle.

There are no items on the levels like there are in Smash Bros, which I personally think is a downside. Items scattered throughout levels add a bit of variety and spontaneousness in the fighting, and would be a welcome addition in my books. As long as you have the ability to turn them off for players that don’t want them.

Speaking of options, you can enable teams (even make them unbalanced like 3v1), and change game modes from one that ends when you run out of lives, to another that ends when the time runs out.

I wanted to say that I really love the aesthetic of the game. It looks great, colourful and the models of the characters look fun and unique. Although, I’m a bit disappointed by the skins. They feel a bit like uninspired colour palette swaps. Most fighting games do it like that so it’s a bit excusable, but I still don’t like most of them.

One gripe I have at the moment is that as soon as a match loads, it instantly allows everyone to fight. There’s no countdown or anything like that to allow you to prepare. So bots will usually get the first punch. Not a big deal since I’m sure it’s an easy fix, and pausing the game and then resuming starts a countdown, so it was probably something the devs missed by accident.

A bigger problem is, it seems to me you can’t play online with 4 players. I can’t find any sort of search settings. You just click search and it’ll place you in a 1v1 match. I can see that being a deal breaker for a lot of people. My only assumption would be is it is because the game runs off a peer to peer connection. Hopefully the devs add an option for that in the future!

Overall, I think people who have been longing for a game like this on PC will be happy to play this. Although to be honest, if you aren’t a very big fan of the genre, I can see the asking price being a big too steep. Other than that, it’s a solid game that feels mostly polished and fun!

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