Broforce is one of the best Steam Early Access games that I’ve played to date. Imagine the concept of The Expendables but in video game form – minus the high probability of being a subpar licensed tie-in. Broforce takes some of the most familiar action heroes from the last few decades and puts them into an arcadey shooter the likes of Contra, with a pixel graphics and world deformation.
Despite being in alpha state, Broforce performs exceptionally well and all it really lacks at this time is polish to its many game modes. But how does it play, you ask? Like a democracy-bomb filled with bald eagle feathers, that’s how!
The gameplay of Broforce pits players against an unspecified terrorist threat in a variety of cliché action-film backdrops. Players will be put into the shoes of a variety of bros – as of writing, the number of playable bros is nineteen. The bros are parodies of action heroes like John McClain, Rambo, The Terminator, and even Ellen Ripley.
Once dropped into a level, players must defeat the final target, which is either an evil businessman or some type of war machine, and then ride away in a chopper while the level explodes. ‘Merica.
As it currently stands, players can not choose which bro they want to play as. Upon level start-up, the starting bro is completely randomized. If there is one thing that I hope to see added as the game evolves and leaves Early Access is the option to choose the starting bro when beginning a level. But if the developers choose not to do this, I won’t be too bothered.
In order to unlock new bros and extra lives, players must free their comrades from cages within levels. Upon death, players will respawn as a different bro, same goes for when extra lives are acquired. At first losing my current bro for the sake of an extra life bothered me some, but it makes sense as you’re forced to give all of the available characters a try and not pick favorites.
All nineteen bros differ in terms of their primary weapons and their specials. The bro’s primary weapons vary by damage, firing speed, and firing types (spray, long distance, short bursts, etc). Special attacks are pretty diverse as they are uniquely tied to the character in which the bros have been inspired by. Bronan The Barbarian jumps into the air and brings his sword down while doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger”gyahhhh!” impression; The Brodock Saints summon their father as an assist; Bro Dredd can control the path of his rockets; and Indiana Brones can use his whip to quickly traverse the terrain. The game is incredibly silly and unlocking a new bro is quite exciting as it opens up new gameplay options.
What would be the point of including all of these action heroes if they weren’t able to blow shit up, right? Well, the environments in Broforce are completely destructible, allowing for chaotic gameplay. Terrain deformation also opens up a realm of strategy to how players can choose to take out enemies. If the opposition is too strong, digging through the ground to flank is an option. Combining terrain deformation with the unique abilities of each bro means that levels can be replayed countless times with a different approach.
Broforce can be taken online with up to three friends for ultimate destruction – perhaps too much destruction. Personally, I found playing with just one other person led to too much visual information on screen, leading me to lose track of my character amidst the fast paced action and particle effects. The game’s online infrastructure needs some polishing, as some games perform well and others are crippled by slowdown, but in my experience its fairly functional.
The game also includes a level editor so that the community can create their own levels to destroy and play with friends. I personally didn’t get a good grasp of the editor, and at one point it froze on me, but the addition is very much welcome and I look forward to seeing the community increase the longevity of the game.
All in all, Broforce is a pretty fun game and easily worth the $14.99 Early Access asking price. The game’s developers are aiming for a summer launch, but they’re already selling a game packed with fun, explosive gameplay with the potential to be a great long-term investment.