So far I will recommend this game. However, I do not suggest you buy it at this time unless you are willing to try and be part of what could be the next big "super smash" on steam. This game is okay... that's about it at the moment. As the big giant blue sign says though, the game is early access.
In short, Brawlhalla is melee with the giant exception most of the battles can be fought in the air and some crazy and odd combos can be strung together. Also, here is a cool feature off the bat : the loading screen to play another online game let's you battle it out with AI's while waiting. Unlike melee especially, the game doesn't have a "fast" feel to the game play. Rather, the game is smoothed out and requires proper timing (and the right button) to deliver an effective blow. The game is played generally in the air but the ground attack specials provide for more than enough umph and entertainment.
Brawlhalla mimics in it's corridors super smash. It is, but it isn't. When you think you're dead or when you have no chance, it seems playing fields are almost even all the time. Those who simply wait to strike at vulnerable times seem to win. The game is persistent in it's work to differentiate itself from smash. Is this a good thing or bad thing you may be asking yourself? It's neither really, until the game is done then a full judgment can be made. The scoring system seems to play the odds of K/D ratio's while the HUD display simply shows it's awesomeness (although I wish that awesomeness was a tad bit bigger in sprite size)! It's tough sometimes keeping up with the fights, but the camera does a pretty good job of keeping you right where the action is. In other words, the zoom is definitely on the right track. The fact that online and local is mixed up also makes this game phenomenal. It's actually pretty nice to see considering it's in the state it's in. There are weapon drops in the game which resembles melee, but unlike melee, you're allowed to throw away your main weapon at any time. Another random varied weapon can be picked up to replace the old. In this sense, some characters have preferred fighting choices and when unlocked, can change their fighting stances. Items are a nice addition to the game, and do not feel as though they tilt the odds. Items include a spike ball, a bomb, a mine, and my favorite, the horn. The horn creates a line of fire across the screen and even delivers another weapon to the position you blew it from.
Graphics resemble those of Castle Storm, nothing wrong with that. The art style is nice and again, sets itself apart from smash. Sounds are good, but I would like to see a variance. Make a sword sound like a sword (even when thrown), and make a javelin sound different than a sword when it bounces off the ground. Stages didn't sit well with me at first, but they do change over time. I felt as though they were a bit small at first, I still do but I can see why they are the size they are. I would suggest adding some levels that are larger and try to stay away from creating every level about the same size. I do like the physical changes that go on in the map, again another + for being different from smash. If you really want to get creative, maybe add certain objects that can explode, upgrade, or slow down players in certain spots (and maybe make them usable every minute or so).
***The follow paragraph will change throughout updates***
***One thing I'd like to talk about to the devs about in this paragraph is the actual fighting animations. They are, good... but I feel they can be better. Do you wish to add combo's or do you want to exaggerate movements (as in they slide for a period of time it feels rather than a brief action). Also, my controller has a ton of buttons. Don't be afraid to allocate certain body parts to certain buttons with a combination of movement from the LS. The attacks feel like they are in the right direction, but aren't quite varied enough to keep me fighting or engaged into the gameplay. Also, the ability to switch main weapons at any time is phenomenal. I would, however, like to see a secondary weapon added to each character that they are stuck with (maybe a ranged weapon)? There seems to be a bit of a shortage regarding range. Also, is team play going to be available? What about the option to have stock instead of time? It would mirror smash but it is a preferred game modification/type.Also, leveling up the characters feels like a grind early on. You want players to experience what the entire game has to offer, not have them quit half way through. It's good in a sense that it prolongs the game, but it can put players off quick as they can't experience different weapon choices or character modifications (such as colors). ***
I'd say keep up the good UI, stay with the community and hear what they have to say (and balance it with pro vs con as well as your own opinions!), the action is there just try to put in more of a varied emphasis in fighting and if you guys want, throw some whacky characters in there as un-lockables that have weird characteristics and features.
Rating as of early access and after playing for a bit : 6.7/10
***This review will be consistently updated throughout early access.