Broforce Arrives on Steam Early Access: Early Impressions

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By Sean Stempler – 7th April 2014
Broforce Arrives on Steam Early Access: Early Impressions

Broforce, the first major title from the South-Africa based studio Free Lives, launches on Steam’s Early Access this Monday, through publisher Devolver Digital. The retro-styled platformer features not-so-subtle bro-ified references to 80s and 90s action stars like “Bronan the Brobarian”, “The Bro in Black”, and “The Brominator”, who join forces to shower gorgeous levels in bloody bits of terrorist in the name of America. The cast of 15 “bros” wreak havoc over a wide range of stages in either single- or four person multiplayer, oozing fun all the while.

Broforce, more than its film homages, is a love-letter to retro shooting goodness: a dash of Metal Slug, a heavy helping of Contra, and a sprinkling of Spelunky addictiveness are what keep the fun flowing. Combined with some modern mechanics like level destruction, this cocktail of solid gameplay continuously delivers. Climbing up walls using knives and setting everything in sight on fire feels completely natural, owing to smooth controls and great visual feedback. Boss fights are a major highlight (and the biggest Metal Slug throwback), offering some great challenge in diverse situations. Excellent visual and audio design round out the already great playing experience.

Beyond the one-track mind of its exterior, Broforce has some serious depth to its gameplay. Each “bro” has two separate attacks, each of which interacts with the environment differently. Capitalizing on that, character selection is totally random, and each time you rescue a fellow “bro” in a level, control moves to them, meaning that players have to switch strategies at a moment’s notice. Picking up “Brade”, for instance, in an area that seems to emphasize ranged combat might earn a quick death. Level destruction and interaction synergize perfectly with the character diversity, leading to a huge range of possibilities for every playthrough.

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Local and online multiplayer are the key to Broforce staying alive past its release date. Matches are frantic and chaotic but tons of fun. Free Lives is riding the indie wave of local multiplayer that’s sprung up so much lately with titles like Nidhogg and Towerfalland they’ve completely nailed it. The over-the-top tone and insane gameplay make Broforce perfect for hilarious sessions with friends.

It’s difficult to talk about Broforce without turning to capital letters and overuse of the word ‘MURICA, but that’s the game’s charm. Self-aware humor and playful jabs at Hollywood action are highlights, accentuating the ridiculous action. Broforce manages to turn what could have otherwise been a short-lived, one-off joke into a hugely fun experience. It might be completely insane, but it’s a wild ride the whole way through.

Free Lives is going to be updating Broforce constantly with new features, so there’s still lots to come. Most recently, the game was updated with online multiplayer, a level editor, new boss levels, and several new characters. As it stands right now, the title is worth playing, but the stream of extra content will mean it will have some staying power as well.

Check out the most recent trailer below, and give the Brototype a play if you want to find out more about the title. It’s definitely worth watching as more updates roll in over the next few months.