In Space we Brawl: Full Arsenal Edition is a classic twin stick shooter game that emphasises on bringing up to four friends together in local split screen play to battle with or against each other in what I can only describe as Asteroids on acid. Developed by Forge Replay the game tries to bring back the good old days before internet and online play where you and your friends would all get together one evening around your mates TV and battle into the early hours and I have to say this game does that initially but I think more than likely we would all be in bed with coco by 9 and this is where the problem lies.
The game greets you with a hypnotic array of colour in the title screen, the thumping techno track in the background sets you mindset that this is going to be one crazy game and it’s not wrong, it truly is. However peel back the layers and it soon gets somewhat disappointing. The main menu has a choice of two gameplay options, Tutorial or Multiplayer. The tutorial or Challenge mode as it’s known in the game, guides you through various missions to teach you the basics of the game but the games not rocket science and honestly and how many people buy a game today for the tutorial. That leaves us with multiplayer, and you are faced with the option of three game modes, Gladiator, Tournament and Championship. Gladiator puts you against up to three other opponents, whether these be your friends or AI and the aim is to destroy your opponents and be the last man standing when the time runs out, but this doesn’t necessary mean you will win as it all comes down to the player with the highest score. Tournament and Championship again follow the same principle but these are played over several rounds and the winner being the player that scored the most points or won the most rounds.
Once you have chosen a game mode you are then allowed to choose your weapon of choice. Well in this case its a choice of various spaceships or various shapes and designs, 13 to be precise and 14 various weapons to put upon them, massing to an incredible 150+ combinations. Each ship has various attributes from speed to shields so you can either choose a nimble and agile ship or a slow but heavily armoured craft. To be honest I didn’t really think it made a lot of difference because 30 seconds after the game starts all your boost and shields have been used and it’s a bulk standard ship like any other. The weapons again have various specials abilities from scatter cannons to missiles and I found these did make some difference but it was a lot of trial and error to find the ones that were of most use.
Once your ship and weapon of choice has been chosen you are faced with the game map options. There are 8 different battlegrounds or planets in this case with three options of each, easy, medium and hard. To be honest again I didn’t see much difference in the size or difficulty and I was left wondering if I missed anything.
The gameplay itself is fast and frantic, and sometimes confusing as I was left wondering where my ship was, why did it blow up and how come I lost even though I was last player left. As you fly around the map you use both thumbsticks, one to control your craft and the other is to direct you gun and then its a simple shoot, everything and anything. The more things you shoot the more points you get, so even if you did kill two players in the game you might lose as the other player got an alien passing by and a few meteors. Not only do you have to dodge the other players but you will also have to dodge the environment like meteors, aliens and other debris. This becomes more frantic as you choose the harder maps but I found rather than becoming more difficult and bringing a challenge to the game they did the opposite and brought frustration and repetition. No matter what map or gameplay style i picked it felt like I was playing the same thing over and over.
Achievements – well lets leave it there, there is no quick wins or congrats you have completed a battle etc, all the achievements are long goal targets for full on gameplay, complete 1000 fights, kill 250 players with the plasma sword, fire 500,000 shots. It just felt like there was no instant rewards or gratification for bothering to put the effort into the game. Anyone who has the time, no, patience to achieve these rewards seriously deserves them.
As I mentioned this is all wrapped up with a thumping techno tracks all the way through to try to add pace and action to the game and topping this off some really screeching voices laughing and joking. Its fun at the start but after 15 minutes you feel mentally harassed and reaching for the off button.
In Space We Brawl follows the genre of epic twin stick shooters and unfortunately that’s all it does. The gameplay is sluggish on heavily populated arena’s, the music and voice overs feel like they are harassing you towards the end and the maps and ships just feel really repetitive. A game with hope but with the lack of multiplayer options and variation it really struggles to hit the mark.
Thanks to Forge Replay and Xbox for their support
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