Come at me, bro!
Remember the loud-mouthed obnoxious fratguy you hated in college, but secretly wanted to be? The one who was over-the-top, crass and super douchey, but for some reason he got all the attention? That is Broforce.
Everything you need to know about the game’s tone is revealed when the steroid-infused, chrome-plated, American flag-toting eagle flexes its way onto the title screen. From the pixelated explosions and gore to the overly amped narrator who sounds like he just took a mixed shot of Red Bull and jet fuel, Broforce is in your face (sometimes a little too close) and not once does it try to apologize for it.
It is a 2D side-scrolling firework show — part platformer, part brawler, part shooter, all bombastic and unyielding action. But just like Broheart’s sword (yes, that’s a play on the movie Braveheart), that over-reliance on non-stop action is double-edged. It’s fun, but incredibly exhausting. I ended up playing the second half of the game with the sound off because the screaming narrator who comments after each mission fail, and yells “3…2…1…GO!” every time you begin again, is repetitive and tiresome.
Oh, and you will fail…a lot. Some levels are more difficult than others (watch out for level 9), but the game relies on the player dying often, so that they can circulate through the dozens and dozens of playable characters. It’s bittersweet–you die a lot, but that’s the only way you can experience playing with each unique character.
Pick an action hero from any movie in the last 30 years and I can say that they are, more than likely, represented in this game. From the painfully obvious Brominator and Rambro to the deeper cuts like Ash Brolliams (Ash Williams from The Evil Dead) and Cherry Broling (Cherry Darling from Planet Terror), there is a character for almost anyone to enjoy.
The mechanics are simple: jump, fire, secondary fire, special item, and the extremely important pose. It’s when you begin cycling through the huge cast of characters that the variety of options for how you tackle each level really ramps up. B.A. Broracus (B.A. Baracus from The A-Team) is awesome for crowd control and for tunneling through the terrain. Bro in Black (Agent J from Men In Black) causes major damage when he fires off his infamous noisy cricket weapon. And Mr. Anderbro (Neo from The Matrix) tears through enemies with a flurry of punches and repels incoming fire using telekinesis.
As you make your way through each mission, you’ll come across POWs (prisoners of war) locked in cages. Freeing one gives you an extra life for that mission and counts toward your progress to unlocking more characters.
No matter which character you’re playing as (and it’s completely random), things will explode. Sometimes these explosions, when triggered, start a chain reaction that can clear out an entire screen. And if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to lose sight of your character in the chaos and be blown into glorious, pixelated chunks. Though you die a lot, the levels are fast — most take around one to two minutes to complete–and they’re easy to get back into. The system is not quite as quick as something like Super Meat Boy, but it’s close.
It’s good that it’s quick, because there are a decent amount of missions to play through. There are 15 zones, with about three to five missions in each, spanning across the globe. Before entering each new zone, you’re greeted by a cigar-smoking commander who hits you with quips like, “This is Irakistan. Fuck Irakistan. Americanize them.” I’ll let you do with that what you will, but their brand of humor didn’t really hit home with me.
Throughout your military campaign, you will encounter three enemy factions: terrorists, aliens (straight out of the Alien film franchise), and demons of Hell. They all have different ways of attacking you, and some — like the Xenomorphs that explode with deadly acid that melts your skin — require a bit of cat-and-mouse tactics to handle. But most of the time you can deal with whatever is thrown at you by blowing the hell out of it.
Broforce is a fun game, but it’s overbearing and obnoxious tone made it difficult to play for more than an hour or so at a time. If you’re a fan of 2D action games, and have an appreciation for action flicks, definitely check it out. Seeing characters like Brobocop and Broblade in detailed pixel form wreak havoc on their enemies is a joy. There is just not much else that Broforce can offer you once you’ve cycled through the characters.