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One of my favorite games for the classic Nintendo Entertainment System is the non-stop action game, Contra. The intense run and gun game offered a challenge and some of the most satisfying co-op action ever. Over twenty-five years later, Contra is still the definitive run and gun action game that helped spawn many sequels and would-be clones. BroForce is one such game, paying much respect to Contra, but at the same time to action movies from the past thirty years. Since it was announced as a Steam Greenlight game, I have been eagerly awaiting its eventual release. BroForce may look like a retro inspired action game, but contains so much more, by having crazy multiplayer action, huge destructible environments and tons of action star cameos. After acquiring the early access build of the game, here are some of my thoughts of the early build of the over the top run and gun game, BroForce.
1. The pixelated graphics are the first immediate thing you will notice, and I love this graphic style. It fits the game perfectly, allowing for some comedic charm to the game. The details are minimal, but it allows for so much more to be done with the levels, be it giant bosses, crazy unique levels or seeing tons of enemies onscreen blow to bits.
2. The giant cast of action stars that make cameos as playable characters gives me a giant smile. As I progressed through the campaign, I would unlock a new “Bro” by rescuing them from cages spread throughout the levels. All the action stars have the “Bro” moniker wedged into their names, and it adds quite the comedic charm. You have RoBroCop, CommandBro, Rambro, Bro Hard and the Boondock Bros. All have their own unique weapons and have unique abilities based of their movie counter parts. While the list, from what I read, seems rather short, here’s hoping they add more to the cast in the future.
3. BroForce‘s gameplay is a straight up run and gun action game to its core. There’s no directional shooting, which I find kind of odd, but at the same time, this works for the game. The levels start off small and continue to grow as you play through the campaign, and the bigger they become, the more plentiful the cannon fodder. The enemies seem to come in a few varieties, from basic grunts and killer dogs to suicide bombers and large heavy gunner brutes. At the end of each stage is an evil looking corporate devil that you need to kill to end the stage before you fly off the in the most explosive blaze of glory fitting for any action movie.
4. The explosive stage endings aren’t the only cool thing about BroForce. All the levels you blast your way through are highly destructible and are littered with tons of explosive barrels, weak crumbling structures and destructible terrain. However, I learned very quickly you can’t just go in guns blazing, because with the variety of weapons you have, you might end up with a building falling on your head or accidentally setting off a nearby gas drum. However, it’s quite fun when you understand your surroundings and can use the environment to your advantage. Like pushing a gas drum off the top of a building, on top of a group of unsuspecting minions, and watching them explode into tons of tiny bits.
5. After every few stages, you are thrown into a boss stage, which takes all the skill you can muster to beat. My first boss encounter, I had to lure this giant brute armed with giant guns near the edge of the map and knock him over. The next encounter was outrunning a huge Apache helicopter, then launching some uniquely placed gas canisters to shoot down the helicopter. These stages required tons of retries, because the difficulty is pretty intense, especially when the screen is filled with lots of cannon fodder grunts.
6. The campaign, from what I’ve experienced, is very straightforward. Blast your way to the end of the stage, rescuing bros along the way, destroying everything and everyone in your way, and raising the American flag at the end of the stage. There isn’t really anything else to the game besides what was mentioned. It’s roughly the same thing, even if the environment changes from the jungle to the city or a warzone. The best parts of the game are the challenging boss battles. There is a mode called Custom Campaign Mode, which allows you to play custom maps made by other players. Unfortunately, due to an unfinished level editor (more on that later), I couldn’t really experience any unique stages outside of some small demo stages made by a few people. This, however, does seem to offer a lot of potential.
7. Aside from the campaign modes, there are a few offline and online multiplayer options, and for the preview I managed to try out the online multiplayer as best as possible. For the most part, the only game type we could play is a co-op version of the campaign mode. There is severe lag and desyncing when playing online, which causes some very crazy glitches. I’ve many times found myself being left behind with the scenery while watching my teammate run around floating in mid-air.
8. The level editor has potential to either make or break BroForce. At its current point, the level editor doesn’t allow for making stages bigger than what’s visible on screen. The potential for what the level editor could allow could offer some very unique, fun and even chaotic levels from the mind of any player. It’s also pretty easy to navigate and use without the need of a tutorial. I hope it’s expanded enough to allow for some really big stages that can take advantage of the multiplayer once it’s finally up and running properly.
9. The only major bug I have encountered while playing BroForce was when the game was in window mode. Actually, I couldn’t play the game because all I could see was a black screen with the Bro life counter in the corner. I like to stream my games, and having it in window mode makes it easier to switch back and forth to my chat room to interact with my audience. Unfortunately, I have to keep alt-tabbing to switch back and forth, which takes its toll on my streaming program. I’m hopeful this will be fixed with the coming patch updates.
10. There are several various other game modes available, some of which, unfortunately, rely on local multiplayer. Modes like race, deathmatch and explosion run. Deathmatch and race mode are self explanatory, however, I would like to see what explosion run is all about. I assume these modes will eventually be incorporated into the online multiplayer for those of us that just don’t have any friends. Of all the modes that are offered, probably the most disappointing one is the World Map mode. Here, you fly your copter around on a 2D map looking for zones to land on and liberate. Unfortunately, these levels are the same ones from the campaign mode with no deviations at all. I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of this mode is, to be frank, but I am hoping it will be offering a greater variety of levels once BroForce officially releases in summer of 2014.