BROFORCE (you have to say it as a growling shout, or you don't do the game justice) is a game about action heroes. Actual action heroes, as it turns out. Oh, sure, the names change. But with a list of playable characters that includes "Rambro", "MacBrover", and "B.A. Broracus" I think we all know the score.
Don't worry, I'm going to try to steer clear of mentioning any but the earlier-unlocked characters in this review. For the best effect, I recommend not spoiling the list for yourself. One of the most fun parts of Broforce is the anticipation of the next unlock, and witnessing the reveal to the sound of the character's name being shouted by the thoroughly-manly announcer.
BROFORCE is a run-and-gun platformer. The game moves briskly, but not so much so that you can't keep up. It's a nice speed that feels appropriately actiony without feeling unfair. Controls are slick and responsive. Deaths will usually be your own fault, and are accompanied by a noticeable lack of frustration. We all know that feel, right? You die in a game, have to start the level over, and curse either very loudly or under your breath, depending on who's nearby. In Broforce, I don't have that. The game plays so well, the action so entertaining, that having to try again only serves to prolong the enjoyable experience.
The environments are almost entirely destructable. The effect reminds me of Worms, but with a little more detail to it. When you destroy some dirt, a block or two above it may also crumble. Destroying the ground underneath of a support will cause the support to fall apart piece-by-piece. Blocks in ruins will fall and crush anyone underneath. You can blow up explosive barrels, of course, but you can also send propane canisters rocketing satisfyingly into anything in their path, pushing enemies through walls and then detonating after a short distance. Think the conclusion to the final battle in the film version of Kick-♥♥♥
The main draw of the game is the still-growing number of Bros to play as. You don't get to pick your Bro, they're randomly chosen from the ones you've unlocked so far. Unlock more Bros by rescuing more P.O.W. Bros from cages through the game. Each Bro rescued gives you an extra life and turns you into a new Bro. The new Bros are unlocked after you do this certain numbers of times. At the moment, I believe it takes some 300 rescues to catch 'em all.
The other way to change Bros is to die (and have at least one life remaining). I've seen people complain about not being able to choose who to play as, but I stand by the current model. It's the same sort of thing I really enjoyed about the way Bastion forced you to use each new weapon for a short time. You can't just pick one thing that works and run through the entire game using only that thing. It would get boring before you were even halfway through, and there's not a chance you wouldn't blame the game for that. Having to use each one, whether you like it or not, allows you come to appreciate the pros and cons of each instead of ignoring the new thing to stick with your favorite.
The Bro lottery simply means that you have to develop your tactics on the fly. Let me tell you, I hated MacBrover at first. Instead of firing bullets at everything, you now have to throw timed explosives at them. And his special is just a remote-detonated version of that. What a rip-off, right? WRONG. SHUT UP. YOU SIT BACK DOWN AND YOU LISTEN, ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ YOU. Turns out, MacBrover is pretty much the bane of most
bosses. Most Bros can only shoot straight ahead. They may have a special that lets them lob a grenade or whatever. But those specials are limited, and the grenade will honestly probably just bounce a safe distance away from your target, anyways. MacBrover's explosives will detonate more-or-less exactly where you drop them. And since it's his main attack, he can do this infinitely
. Find a nice perch and unload, man. Plus, I mean, once you get the hang of it, dropping explosives so that they stick to the general rabble is pretty fun, too.
Now imagine an entire game, FILLED with Bros, all of whom have their pros and cons just like MacBrover. Now imagine that you never know who you'll be playing as next. Getting somebody who meshes well with the situation at hand means plowing through that situation while your heart drips with physical glee. Getting somebody who isn't perfect for the situation means being confronted with a fun challenge where you have to work your way through it like a man.
There's a good variety to your enemies, as well. You'll kill loads and loads of the basic mooks, but you have big guys, dogs, bomb-tossers, and more. Each of the bosses manages to be pretty unique. I mean, you know, they're mostly just giant death machines that fire big guns at you. But they move differently, fire different types of big guns in different trajectories... look, point is, you won't get bored of the enemy variety, alright?
BROFOOOORCE is still in Early Access, meaning you can expect loads more content in the future. At the moment, one playthrough will probably run you maybe 3-5 hours. The game's enough fun, though, that you shouldn't be surprised if you play it all over again once you're done. Maybe in co-op, this time. The Steam Workshop will extend the length of the game quite
a bit. Plus the new Alien campaign (inspired by the Alien series of films) is only just around the corner, and that'll help. New Bros come out now and then, and the devs still have more ideas up their sleeves. You shouldn't be afraid of the "Early Access" label on this one. You'll get your money's worth.
I mentioned co-op. There are actually several multiplayer modes. Co-op is the main one. At the moment, online co-op can be a little laggy at times. It's not perfect. It's not terrible either, though. I've played through the full campaign with a friend, and while there were times where the effects of my friend's actions would play out before they actually performed those actions (often resulting in everything turning into sudden explosions and chaos so that I quickly lost track of what was going on, and usually died as a result), as I said, we did finish
the campaign, and the majority of that time consisted of both ♥♥♥♥♥ and giggles.
There is an issue with the way the online game treats things like the local game, however. Even online, the screens tries to keep everyone in it at once. If it fails, then it will focus on one person, meaning that the other player can't really see what they're doing. 98% of the time, this isn't a problem. But there was one boss that moves vertically that really tripped us up. My strategy is to climb the boss as quickly as possible. My friend's strategy is to not do that. He immediately finds himself offscreen, dead, and waiting for me to ride the boss to death or success.
I'll probably update this review every now and then until the game is out, and then I may or may not rewrite it to reflect the final product. If you don't see anything after this paragraph, then the former hasn't happened, yet. If you're even reading this paragraph, then the latter hasn't happened, yet. Anyways, get some BROFORCE, bro!