If you’ve ever seen one of Free Live’s Broforce promo videos, you can immediately tell what kind of theme the developer is using. It’s all about 1980s over-the-top action movies and the ridiculous lack of reality. This means unlimited ammo, an uncanny ability to survive extreme situations, and generally conquer everything with brute force.
As an Early Access game on Steam, it’s important to note that this isn’t the full version. There are still bugs and random crashes, but the overall experience is fairly polished and will only get better as development continues.
The game already features a decently long campaign that supports online and local multiplayer, though Free Lives is quick to mention that online modes are still in alpha development and don’t have great stability. While playing Broforce in local co-op, it’s easy to see the game’s huge potential.
Your Bro Army
The campaign is straight-forward. You run through levels taking place in a few different locales, like the jungle and a city, kill every enemy, and ultimately, kill the head terrorist at the end– this is the core of Broforce.
What makes Broforce original is that isn’t not about collecting different weapons, but rescuing other members of Broforce. Modeled after characters from popular movies and television shows, Broforce applies “Bro” to each name, although it’s very easy to see the source material behind each character. While the game takes its inspiration from 80s movies and television, Free Lives has added more recent characters like The Boondock Bros (The Boondock Saints),Mr. Anderbro (The Matrix), and Brochete (Machete).
Each Bro has a different style. Rambro (Rambo), for example, uses a machine gun, and his special attack is a wide-area grenade. When you unlock the Brominator (Terminator), you get to run around with a mini-gun. Activating his special attack will change him into the T-800 exoskeleton. As of April 2014, there are 19 Bros to unlock. The variety in attack styles keeps the gameplay fresh, and adapting to each style is actually fun because they are all polished to work on any level.
Each time you rescue a Bro, you switch to a new Bro. This also increases your lives in single player. In co-op, on the other hand, it’s a very fine balance deciding who’s going to steal the rescue first. The game naturally lends itself to playing with a friend, and it’s easy to see this being expanded to support a lot of players at once for gigantic boss fights. Right now, there’s also four player online multiplayer, but until it’s more stable, it’s probably not the best option to use.
Run, shoot, and kill
Broforce’s gameplay is so insane that sometimes you have to sit back and wait for all the destruction to finish. While you have tons of Bros to use, the game takes cues from older games like Contra, where it’s one-hit-one-kill. This means that even though you are ridiculously powerful, one gunshot, grenade, or even the environment can kill you. There are checkpoints so that you don’t have to restart the level, but in later levels in the Early Access build, you’ll be jumping and shooting in all directions.
Since Broforce has 19 characters and each plays different, replayability is natural. Bro spawning appears to be random, so in your first play through, you won’t have a lot of Bros to use. When you unlock them all, rescuing Bros is half the fun. The special attacks each Bro has is specific to that character, and references something from the source material they’re from. A great example is Brobocop (Robocop), where you can target and lock onto enemies in the stage.
There are a couple of boss fights in Broforce in the Early Access build, and they do add variety to the game, but they’re not that difficult. Hopefully, as more update get released, there will be bigger and crazier boss fights. Right now, they’re not much more challenging than some of the stronger regular enemies. It would be great to see a boss that takes up the entire screen.
The way Broforce is right now, it could have fallen into a repetitive cycle, but Free Lives is updating the game consistently by adding new content and fixes.
Lots of early gameplay options
Broforce has a lot of features to play with. Along with the campaign and co-op, there’s a deathmatch mode and different modes in various alpha and beta stages. The level editor lets you create a custom map that you can share online.
The future updates are just as exciting, with more Bros, new missions, and is better polished, including bigger explosions.
Broforce has the ingredients
Even in Early Access, Broforce has the right foundation. The gameplay is solid, the Bros all have individual styles, and it’s fun and playable. As Free Lives releases updates, polish, and tweak it, Broforce keeps getting better.
Early Access games are a gamble. The amount of actual game content can be low, but the replay-ability of Broforce is incredible. Free Lives is welcoming feedback from Early Access players, and it looks like the game could expand to include a lot more levels inspired from the movies that the Bros come from. If this banner is any hint, Broforce could be heading into absolute madness.