Friends coming together to play some couch co-op is a gaming staple that has stood the test of time. Despite advances in graphics, controls, online and even virtual reality, nothing can replace the social element of playing in person with others. Fighting games have become mainstream with both casual and hardcore gamers eagerly anticipating every Super Smash Bros or Street Fighter entry. On the Xbox One, it’s not as easy to find quality local co-op fighting games. Recent releases Clash and Mimic Arena provided some enjoyable moments, but the time is right for a new game to stand above the rest. Blast Brawl 2 admirably tries to fill that void, with 7 characters of different styles and a couple quality game modes.
Blast Brawl 2 can be played two different ways: Wave mode and Versus Mode. Wave mode pits you (or you and friends) against an endless wave of enemies across 5 different maps. As you slice, dice and bash your way through rounds you will earn more lives and things will get increasingly difficult. As enemies die they will drop coins, these are used to purchase more characters, as you only start out with two. Versus mode is where a lot of folks will get the most replay value. You and up to 7 friends can battle it out with different characters across a handful of maps. It’s important to note that it only takes one kill to destroy an enemy and one kill to be destroyed. This added a lot of tension to every match and forced me to make smart decisions in split-seconds. There is also a handy tutorial for every character that will get you ready to fight in no time. Finally, there is an included jukebox where you can enjoy all the songs from the game, why is this not in more games?
Each character plays and feels different from one another; meaning I found a couple that I liked and pretty much hated the rest. The sniper has a long-range rifle that served me well in wave mode, I also enjoyed the vanguard who has a large shield for bashing but a vulnerable backside. The unpredictable pirate and axe-swinging Viking were okay, and the ninja can cloak himself temporarily for sneak attacks. The warrior swings her sword as slow as molasses and feels like she’s wearing ice skates and the brawler is a dude with no weapons, plays as fun as it sounds. You can customize their color but that’s it, there’s no leveling up, upgrading or anything of the sort.
The character’s control differently depending on which one you choose. Blast Brawl 2 is at its best when players can vault across the map making precise jumps and avoiding enemies with grace and killing with surgical precision. Other characters handle similar to driving a RC car while holding the controller upside-down. When you are in tune with your character’s movements, it’s very rewarding to breeze through wave mode or dish out pain and suffering to your friends. Blast Brawl 2 has an interesting graphical style that looks slightly pixelated. Things are especially pleasing when blood is splattered from an enemy’s chest and coins spew out across the floor. As I mentioned earlier, with enough songs for an entire jukebox mode, the music is another highlight.
Blast Brawl 2 is not a game I would recommend to everyone. It is best used as a party game where friends can gather around the television and have a good time. The inclusion of wave mode for single players is admirable, but not worth the asking price alone. Players can conceivably get dozens or even hundreds of hours out of multiplayer; if you fall into that category then the $14.99 price is a tremendous value.
Writer’s Notes: A copy of Blast Brawl 2 was provided by Minds Eye Games for the purpose of this review. Blast Brawl 2 is also available on Steam.