Super Smash Bros. is extremely popular because it features a great multiplayer focused gameplay that relies on an unpredictable nature of attacks adding to the fun. While there is currently no similar game in the market for the Nintendo Switch users, Brawlout might be the first and only decent Smash Bros. clone that is currently available right now.
Brawlout utilizes the basic gameplay mechanics right to the extreme with even the UI resembling a Smash Bros. game. However, the game has its own cast of characters, none of which looks as iconic as a character in Smash Bros. To get over this difficulty, the developers have instead opted to go for other indie developers and get their characters in the game resulting in Juan from Guacamelee and Hyperlight Drifter making their way into the game. It also leaves the door open for potentially more indie games crossover characters in the future, adding their own unique twist in the game.
Brawlout has attempted to emulate the gameplay of Smash Bros. but with its own unique twist added on top of it. The basic attacks and combos use the same layout as a Smash Bros. game. You have a normal attack button that you can use in conjunction with the analog stick’s direction to execute different moves. There is also a special attack button that works in the same way. You can also charge some of these moves to execute a more powerful strike. Dodging also works similarly with the trigger buttons. The missing link here is the lack of a block and grab button, which makes the fighting a lot more aggressive this time around. You will have to rely on your reflexes to move your way out of your opponent’s combo since you can’t block their attacks.
While Brawlout can be a lot of fun with its gameplay, the game also lacks content that means if you are hoping for meaningful single player content to play here, you might be disappointed. There is a standard single player mode available that offers different difficulty based challenge towers. You will be fighting through the game’s roster in this mode but with no proper story to back it up. You do get a reward if you manage to complete each mode, but the nature of the reward is such that it doesn’t offer the same satisfaction, as say, unlocking a character by beating the arcade mode in a fighting game.
Speaking of the unlock system, this is the point where it feels like the game totally misses out the point of a fighting game. Traditionally, you could unlock characters through just playing the single player content, but in this case here, you will have to go through a weird shop system that seems to run on a lootbox type mentality with its ‘loot pinata’ that will require a certain amount of in-game currency to be purchased. By default, you will start with 8 fighters with more of them locked behind this terrible unlock system. However, these are mostly clones and it means you will be spending your time with mostly the same 8 basic characters. It is not that bad as it sounds though, since each of the character is well designed around the game’s fighting mechanics.
The ‘loot pinata’ feels just so out of place for a brawler. To get some of it, you will also have to grind through a lot of the single player content which means you will be repeating through the same fights. You can also see some daily challenges that are updated online and by completing them, it is possible to earn a reward in the form of coins or shop currency. You can use these to purchase unlockables from the shop. There are no microtransactions currently in place even if the basic system is already integrated, but there is no telling when the developers might just implement it in the actual game.
Despite all of its flaws, Brawlout works best when played in co-op with a friend. The Nintendo Switch version of the game allows the user to use each of the JoyCon as a controller. It has been a fun experience so far from what I tested and while the game can stutter at times, the performance is pretty decent for it. Aside from the local co-op, there is also online multiplayer for those who prefer to test their skills by challenging others across the globe.
Brawlout is a decent Smash clone and one that should keep the fans busy until Nintendo can release an official Smash Bros. game for the Switch. Hopefully the developers can take the feedback of fans and improve the game even further, since it does have potential if some of the issues are resolved.
Brawlout Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Brawlout is a fighting game developed and published by Angry Mob Games for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was first shown at EVO in July 2016, and went into Closed Beta in December 2016.
This is a actually a pretty decent clone of Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch, and it might scratch that certain itch, but the terrible shop-based unlock system really sours the experience of playing the game and unlocking everything naturally.