Brawlout is much more than you give it credit for. It’s not a Smash Bros. clone like you may think, no, it’s much more depending on what your expectations are. From my time with Brawlout, I’ve learned don’t judge a book by its cover, there’s a competent brawler here that fits the Nintendo Switch perfectly, it’s a blast with friends that’s for sure.
Let us get it out of the way: there is a very clear influence Smash Bros. has on Brawlout, the same can be said for PlayStation All-Stars on PlayStation 3. Angry Mob Games has delved deep enough to differentiate the two, it’s enough to get noticed, too.
Being an indie title, Brawlout has surprisingly a ton of polish, the animation is crisp and the models are colorful, seeing each character shine reaffirms the studio’s dedication to providing a wonderful product.
Arriving on PC in April, the move to Nintendo Switch proves that the library on Nintendo’s newest console is diversifying – there’s a small roster, around eight fighters in total, with Drink Box’s Juan from Guacamelee and the protagonist from Hyper Light Drifter rounding out the cast as guests.
The roster itself is diverse enough you won’t get bored to son, as each character is unique with their own fighting style, how quick they react and the way they recover. Being as such, it’s a shame the roster is small, there should be more characters to use. Now, while I did mention eight characters, Brawlout features unlockable skins for the core cast of brawlers, there are also clones that include varying skill sets.
Controls vary, for example, there is no blocking mechanic that Smash players are accustomed to, and other things like no grab technique, a favorite of mine, of course. Included is a rage mechanic that when activated uses the entire meter allowing you to either break combos with the Rage Burst or unleash hell with the Rage Mode. The Rage Burst pushes your enemy back, breaking their combos and allowing players to create some space to regroup. If the meter fills, you can activate the Rage Mode, increasing the pushback you can create and reduce incoming damage.
There are several game modes to keep you coming back, the single-player offers standard mechanics you’d find in typical ladder matches of varying difficulty – I spent a majority of my time climbing the ladder while completing on the available difficulties. As you play ladder matches, either on easy, medium, or hard, you unlock types of currencies that unlock piñatas that provide new items like new costumes, and new characters.
Jumping into the online mode, I was quick to find a match. Leading up to release I was struggling to find anyone to connect with, I’d believe this was because no one had the game up to that point aside from other reviewers. When I did connect, the gameplay was fluid and fun, but when I ran into an opponent that was having network issues, the connection would just drop, kicking both of us out. Matching up with up to four players online, you can also jump into 1 v 1 matches.
Brawlout is currently the only Smash Bros. Alternative, and Angry Mob Games built a solid foundation on which to grow from, to keep this momentum going forward, the studio will need to support their game post-launch with updates, tweaks and balancing patches. If they add more characters to the fray, I see Brawlout lasting much longer, and this would benefit their presence at EVO tournaments. For what it is, the core experience is fun, the action is fast, fun, and responsive, the lasting appeal of eight fighters wears itself out quickly but those characters are all wonderful to play as, especially on the go on your Nintendo Switch.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]