Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Month in Games: April 2016

Broforce - PS4

Wowie wow, I LOVE this game! While at first blush it may look like yet another generic 8-bit throwback, Broforce is actually an excellently crafted and highly amusing platforming shooter that features a wonderfully inventive twist on the genre. Players control any of two dozen "bros" - parodies of various action stars from the 80s, 90s, and 00s (BRObocop, BROchete, get it) each with their own distinct weapons and special moves - as they face off against hordes of terrorists, mechs, aliens, and even Satan himself! The action is fast-paced, frantic, and fairly chaotic at times, but the challenge level, pacing, and core gameplay are so solid and entertaining that you almost don't care when a misstep leads to a gory, pixelated death and a return to the last checkpoint.

RamBRO gets got.

For me, the real standout feature of Broforce is the random way your characters are chosen. With a few exceptions, you just never know which of the two dozen or so "bros" the game will give you when you start a level. Saving hostages within a level will automatically swap out your current "bro" with another random character and net you an extra life, so you're more or less constantly switching characters and adjusting your strategy depending on who the game gives you. Written out like that it sounds like it might be annoying to never know who you'll be playing as, but it keeps you on your toes and forces you to get good at playing as all of the characters. Another interesting feature of the game is that it generally allows you to tackle the levels in a variety of ways. You can always go in head first, guns ablazin', or you can take a more measured approach; using your guns to blast away the walls, tunneling underneath your enemies as you make your way towards the end of the stage. The variety of characters coupled with the unique and varied ways you can make your way through the stages shows a level of complexity to the gameplay and strategy that you might not pick up on from still images alone.

Sweet chaos!

I could dock a few points for a somewhat generic storyline and some surprisingly long load times, but these slight annoyances really didn't hamper my enjoyment of the game too much. Tone-wise, Broforce also doesn't seem to totally nail the mix of parody and political satire that it's aiming for either, but again, that really doesn't eat into the overall experience. I should also mention that there's a multiplayer component to the game that never delved into. Seems like it could be fun, I just have yet to try it. I highly recommend Broforce and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it ends up in my top 5 games of the year. The screenshots don't totally do it justice, but trust me, this is not just another Contra/Metal Slug ripoff. Go GO GOOOOOOO!!!

Loads of bros...
Grade: A

Galak-Z: The Dimensional - PS4

Y'know, I wanted to like this Rogue-lite space shooter, but its wonky controls completely marred what is otherwise a fairly stylish, Asteroids-esque blast-a-thon with exploration elements. I just couldn't get used to the controls...claw hands, y'know? Also, for my money, Galak-Z doesn't really nail the 80s TV anime vibe it's striving for. It gets close, but it ultimately ends up looking kind of bootleggy. In the end, Galak-Z feels like a good effort, but I didn't really find it to be all that much fun to play.

Grade: C+

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