This has been a long time coming. Ever since the first iteration of Super Smash Brothers on Nintendo 64, I've been hoping and waiting for a PC version with online support. Now my personal Brawlhalla is finally here and it looks smashing already. Since this game is in early access right now, access is limited but I had no trouble getting in within a few hours of signing up. If you're interested in this game, definitely go and sign up for the closed beta right now.
It is time to Brawl on PC! Since everyone and their dog has probably already played a version of Smash Brothers, you'll find this game easy to pick up and play right away, Hit an enemy enough times so that your next stronger move sends them flying off the arena, taunt with a nice pose, repeat. The familiar mechanics are all there in a very similar way. Light attacks, smash attacks, a distinct move set for every weapon and an unarmed moveset for when you have none. While in the air you also have access to a triple juimp (because double jump was apparently too mainstream). The dodge move is much more powerful than in this game's ancestor: You can dodge in EVERY direction, even up, down or diagonally. In the air as well. OP much? Not at all, since everyone can use it.
The graphics are okay. Not great, but far from bad. Some animations could use some more fluidity and the artstyle isn't really distinct enough to be memorable, you'll probably thoroughly enjoy what there is already. The health bar isn't really informative yet, unlike the % number in Smash Brothers you'll only get a colored indicator that lets you know about how far you'll knock back the enemy.
While the sound design is nothing to write home about - it really isn't memorable and lacks impact - the music is FANTASTIC. You'll get the soundtrack stuck in your head even after the first match and find yourself humming along as early as the second. Here's hoping the sounds will get a bit crunchier as development progresses.
Free to Play aspects:
From what is there so far, it looks like cash shop purchases are cosmetic only. If this stays this way, I will gladly drop a few dollars here and there just to get the saltiest taunts and sexiest skins. As of right now there doesn't seem to be a way to earn currency by playing.
Early Access Notes;
For an early access release, this game is remarkably solid already. There's a nice variety in characters, average variety in weapons and a few usable items already. Stages are alright so far, those that exist are pretty distinct from each other. Netcode is okay, though the servers lump everyone together at the moment, as it seems, so expect some teleporting enemies every now and then.
For now, I can thoroughly recommend this game to everyone who likes Smash Brothers or fighting games in general. It is that good. Not just a clone or cash-in on the "I want Smash for PC!" audience but an actual possible contender-in-the-making for the genre throne. We'll see how this changes as development progresses, I'll keep updating this review as patches come in.