More like burnout
by Christian Hollis, Editor-in-Chief
Reviewed on Playstation 4
Mad Games’s “Brawlout” is an uninspired platform fighter that finds success in filling a specific need in the market. It is no secret that “Brawlout” is heavily influenced by Nintendo’s iconic series “Super Smash Bros.” Identical stages, fighting settings and even character movesets frames “Brawlout” as a copy-cat.
Unlike the “Super Smash Bros.” series’ ultimate character roster, “Brawlout” is just a list of generic characters that doesn’t make anyone care about them, despite the hidden “lore” tab in the menu. Fortunately, there are three characters seen in popular indie games, those being Jose from “Guacamele” and Yooka Laylee and Hyper Light Drifter from their self-titled games. Though these characters do spark some redemption, they only make up 30 percent of an already small roster.
The character unlock system is simply uninspired. Instead of unlocking new characters with unique movesets, unlockable characters are just variants of the nine characters from the start. Based off the loot box system seen in many other games, characters are unlocked by opening Pinatas and are chosen at random. Thankfully, there (currently) isn’t a way to buy Pinatas with real world currency, but that doesn’t excuse the random element in progression.
Not only are the characters designs generic, but they also copy abilities from the “Super Smash Bros.” series. For example, “Brawlout”’s Sephi’ra plays has the same recovery and special attack as Shiek from “Super Smash Bros.”
The biggest thing that makes “Brawlout” stand out in the platform fighting genre is that you can’t block. Though you’re able to dodge, it is mostly used for mobility purposes and Wave Dashing. The lack of blocking may make it seem like the game might feel faster, but it really just becomes an unskilled button masher. Blocking is also severely missed in Free-for-All matches, when four players face off against each other.
It also severely affects the single-player. The arcade mode is the main focus in “Brawlout”’s single-player mode. In “Easy” mode, the player fights against every other Brawler in the game one-on-one., in “Medium,” you play against every character one-on-two, and in “Hard” you play against every character one-on-three. This system is just repetitive and doesn’t create anything interesting, nor a real challenge, except for the lack of blocking. Though playing arcade is the easiest way to level-up characters quickly.
By leveling-up characters, you’ll unlock skins and stages. “Brawlout” also suffers from poor stage design. The backgrounds are bland and boring, and there aren’t stages that give real stage hazards for casual play. The combination of non-evolving stages and lack of items may alienate the casual fanbase from “Super Smash Bros.”
With competitive players being alienated because there isn’t the ability to block, and casuals being alienated by the lack of favorite features and inspiring characters, it is hard to determine who “Brawlout” is for. It’s truly a shame that almost every game in the platform fighting genre ends up being directly compared to “Super Smash Bros.,” but when games like “Brawlout” copies it, the comparison needs to be made. This is a blatant rip-off, and unless you’re desperate and can’t wait until Dec. 7 for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” there isn’t a good reason for anyone to play “Brawlout.”
“Brawlout” is available now on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.