Brimstone Brawlers Review (Build Version 0.1.2.10)
MEF TECH had the luxury of playing Brimstone Brawlers at PAXAUS2019 and to be honest, we bloody loved it. So much so, that it featured in our PAX RISING article as of one of the most promising indie games featured at PAXAUS2019. Fast forward eight months and Brimstone Brawlers has finally entered Steam Early Access, but how does this PvP arena brawler match up against similar brawlers such as Battlerite or Bleeding Edge? Let’s find out!
Brimstone Brawlers is a fast paced PvP arena brawler set in the in a lovecraft inspired fictional city of Brimstone. Players select one of twelve brawlers, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles and take to the arena to battle it out until the death, but more importantly for the ultimate reward of gloating. I may or may not of took to Twitter to let the development team know
how bad they are how I won a couple of games against them.
I can best describe Brimstone Brawlers as a game that is easy to learn, but hard to master — The concept of brawling with your opponents and mashing buttons is easy, but combining attacks for effective combos, utilising the interactive environment to your advantage, and basically figuring out what the f*ck you are actually doing takes time to master, but is ultimately rewarding.
The Victorian inspired art of the game is a real highlight — I found myself in awe of the details included in not only each arena. Each of the eight arenas felt different to each other thanks to the number of interactive hazards incorporated into them — Roof Tops is as you would expect; elevated high above Brimstone and features numerous ways for brawlers to fall to their death. Station is my favourite — Not because I like trains, but as I enjoy pushing Jimmy onto the train tracks as the train comes choo-chooing past. I won’t give away all the secrets of the arenas, but brawlers must be prepared for anything!
Speaking of brawlers, Aussie developer Ategig have done a great job creating such a diverse range of characters. The burley Butcher always has a leg or two of ham at his disposal that not only sounds delicious, but are actually lethal weapons that he throws them at his enemies. My personal favourite though was the Plague Doctor, who uses dark magic to his advantage.
Each character essentially shares the same foundation in regards to their attacks and abilities; basic melee attack, basic range attack, a special ability (ranging from an AoE ability, damage enhancing ability, abilities that slow enemies, and shields or a similar form of damage migration etc.), a movement based ability to dodge enemy attacks or to set up for aggressive plays, and an ultimate ability that can greatly impact the game, if used correctly.
Not all brawlers are equal; There is a skill cap for a number or brawlers that takes time to adapt too, as I quickly found out. Bomber can use his Mortar Bomb to cause small AoE damage as his basic range attack, but when he equips the bomb he can’t use any other of his attacks/abilities until he has disposed of the bomb. This doesn’t mean that these brawlers are OP, it just adds another layer of depth to the game that will keep players wanting to expand their skills.
At present, there are only three game modes availability — Brawl, Deathmatch, and a soccer-inspired mode called Bamball. Ategig have confirmed (via their official roadmap) that more game modes are planned for the future including solo and co-op content. Solo play is currently non-existent apart from training grounds, so it great that the developers have acknowledged this lack of content and plan to address it.
Unfortunately, finding a game can be challenging unless its peak hours. This is an area that I know that Ategig are particularly working hard. The absence of dedicated servers means that players will jump on and search for a game but will often fine no games in progress and will likely leave as a result. As a temporally measure, Ategig have been proactive by aggressively advertising their official Brimstone Brawlers Discord channel helps organise games until dedicated servers is patched in.
Speaking of the ongoing development of Brimstone Brawlers, Ategig have a public roadmap that outlines the upcoming feature and development of the game. This includes significant improvements to matchmaking (dedicated servers, anti-cheat measures, casual and competitive modes), player profiles that track stats, cosmetic unlocks and of course, additional maps and brawlers.
These issues are expected at this stage of development. Afterall, Brimstone Brawlers has only been in Early Access for less than a month. But if the current build of the game is anything to go by, Brimstone Brawlers has the potential to be one of the premier arena battlers.
- GAMEPLAY - 78%78%
- GRAPHICS - 81%81%
- AUDIO - 73%73%
- POTENTIAL - 84%84%
The future looks bright for Brimstone Brawlers. Sure, there are a few issues with matchmaking, but the quality of the content available and the addictive gameplay makes for up and provide hours of chaotic fun with friends.