Platform on which it was played: PS4
Score: 7/10 – a memorable 2D shooter with love for all things angry and no shame in expressing its passion, some of the best times of your day will be with Broforce and its ‘roided’ crowd.
Price Paid: Free – Playstation Plus
As a cacophonic mess of blood, terrorists and alien goop fill the screen, ‘Brade’ – ‘a cease -and-desist’ worthy name derived from Marvel’s Blade character – decides now would be the best time to dash across thin air and attempt to attack a twenty-foot alien creature, who looks seriously pissed off and has absolutely no time for ‘Brade’s’ shenanigans.
It is at this point that I realise, I have never played a game like this and probably never will again, WELCOME TO BROFORCE!
A year after its initial release, South African developer Free Lives’ patriotic punch-fest, Broforce hits PS4 – specifically PS Plus.
Broforce is a 2D love letter to action movies in which you defeat enemies with or without the help of you real-life buddies in the quest to restore liberty in regions throughout the world.
It is the most recent winner of the ‘Vote to play’ competition which – pioneered by Sony for Playstation Plus – pits three games against one another and asks gamers to vote for the winner which will be released when the competition ends.
The goal of most missions is simple; blast your way through several differing locations and get to the chopper to extract and end the mission.
Later in the game, some levels change this up by replacing soldiers and mercenaries with aliens and supernatural monstrosities.
At various times in the game the difficulty spikes – almost to the point or rage-quit worthiness.
When the game becomes terribly difficult it is best to; place the controller down, take a minute, think about your strategy and get back to trying to rid the world of evil.
Towards the end of the game, the action becomes very frequent and commonplace which has an effect on the framerate and you will notice a considerable drop in render and action speed at these times.
Another thing to note is, when the level loads you may notice a non-response of the controller function, this is a frequent problem for many console gamers – I experienced it also – however the developer is aware of this and is doing everything they can to rectify this issue.
Broforce’s environments are almost completely destructible which adds a new level of creativity in the way in which you can proceed.
An example of this is the way in which I beat the main boss of the game.
‘I noticed his attack was largely one of aerial domination and realise that if I blew the floor out from under him when he eventually came back down – as he often did with force – he would plummet through the remaining blocks of ground and into the oblivion below’.
The environment can be destroyed with most weapons and modes of attack and does offer a creative spin which adds to the overall allure of Broforce’s brutish charm.
Another function that adds something fresh to the proceedings is the random generation of protagonist characters upon death.
‘I began a level as The ‘Brominator’ – equipped with Minigun – blew a few guys away and completely misjudged a jump which resulted in Brominator falling to his death and a ‘GAME OVER’ message being displayed.
I tried the level again and to my surprise I was now ‘Time-Bro’ – yes, that is Timecop equipped with the relevant tools to the character.’
The random generation of characters forces you to adapt your playing style according to the character which is chosen.
Each Bro uses different weapons and abilities which they can use, some of my personal favourites are; Time Bro (Time Bro can slow time down which enables the player to move quicker than the rest of the game which can destroy a boss entirely, if used correctly.
Brominator has an endoskeleton which enables him to be temporarily invincible and finally, Ellen Ripbro who comes equipped with an electric shock rifle and flame-blast attack which is especially useful for getting oneself out of a sticky situation.
Bros are unlocked by ‘saving’ a set number of hostages throughout your playthrough.
By randomising the Bro which you play as it introduces an interesting risk and reward system which makes you weigh the possibility of receiving the Bro you need, against scrapping the progress which you have made so far – this reminds me of Rogue Legacy in a small way.
Each Bro is pixelated however the way in which the colours are arranged on the Bro subtly indicates which real-world action star the Bro is supposed to represent.
During play, the Bros pictures are visible at the bottom of the screen, the picture appears to react to the on-screen actions, for instance if your fire your weapon you will notice that the picture flashes and if the Bro is jumping, then the picture will bounce up and down.
These are just some of the examples of the level of attention to detail which fills Broforce
All too often in 2D games, there is a lack of atmosphere, this can’t be said for Broforce.
Broforce respects its origins of retro action movies and games and displays this with its balls-to-the-wall soundtrack and angry narrator screaming upon the Bro’s death.
These tiny details add to the flesh-filled, furious fiasco of blood, fire and homage to make Broforce one of the most playable, respectable and well-defined 2D experiences currently available.
Broforce presents as an action-homage 2D platform-shooter which utilises environment destruction, pyro mechanics and enemy ‘friendly fire’ to produce a wonderful gore-fest that is simply too beautiful to hate but too buggy to love.
Grab your controller, throw on your tank-top and most importantly… GET TO DA CHOPPA!