For those without a Nintendo console the thirst for a proper Super Smash Bros type game has been real. PlayStation attempted their own take on it several years ago but due to some differences most people didn’t like it. A few months ago developer Angry Mob Games released their own game inspired by Super Smash Bros called Brawlout. However it was only on the Nintendo Switch at the time which did nothing for those on Xbox or PlayStation who wanted a game like it. Well Brawlout is officially about to release on those two platforms and I’m here to tell you if it’s worth picking up.
Brawlout is pretty much straight up a Super Smash Bros. clone so anyone familiar with that franchise will quickly grasp what’s going on here. The game supports up to four players in a match at one time and in order to beat the others you have to hit them to increase their damage percentage meter. The higher the percentage the further they will fly upon getting hit making it easier to knock them out of the stage and get a kill. You have the option to either play with a timer to see who gets the most kills or to play with a set stock amount of lives.
There isn’t a whole lot in Brawlout when it comes to modes to play. If you are interested in single player content there is a set of single player challenge towers set to easy, medium, and hard. They function like the towers you’d see in the Mortal Kombat games where you just go fight to fight until you reach the top. You also have a Practice mode and both beginner and advanced tutorials. A quick match against the CPU is the last single player option here. Couch Play lets you set up matches for 1-4 players consisting of local players or mixing CPU in too. You have the option to play on teams as well.
For Online modes there is a 1V1 mode but I was unable to find anyone to play online against to test it for this review. There is also a ranked mode but you have to unlock that by reaching level 3 with four different characters but more on that in a bit. Finally there is a option to play a private match. There is a Tournament option on the main menu as well but this seems to only be for setting things up outside of the game. Brawlout TV lets you watch live matches or watch replays of recent matches. You can save them for viewing later too if you want. The last option you have is the Store where you can purchase cosmetic items.
Of course one of the most important things for any fighting/brawler is the roster of fighters. Brawlout doesn’t have a very large roster I’ll say that with there only being nine in total and then some variants of those nine fighters. All nine characters are unlocked from the start but the variants you’ll have to purchase with in game gold. Each fighter seems like they are good at their own things as one is more of a grapple type of fighter while another can freeze enemies. The game does feature some guest fighters from other well known indie games such as Juan from Guacamelee!, The Drifter from Hyper Light Drifter and Yooka-Laylee from well you guessed it. The Dead Cells character is also coming to the game in the next couple months. Sadly I had the most fun playing as these guest characters as the original cast here just wasn’t very interesting. Hyper Light Drifter ended up being my favorite although it might be because he felt a tad bit stronger than most of the others.
There are 13 stages in total to battle on as well and again all of them are unlocked from the start. Some of them look really nice such as the Golden City but they don’t come anywhere close to being varied and memorable like the stages you’d find in Super Smash. There is no interactivity with them really so they mainly just serve as backdrops. As far as the actual fighting Brawlout is also more of a straight up brawler. There is no items or anything here to use so if you’re a fan of turning items off in Smash you might enjoy this. All of the characters have their own moveset with a basic attack button, a special attack button and variants if you combine a directional button with the attack. There is also a rage meter that builds up as you fight. When it’s half full you can use it to break an enemy combo and when it’s completely full you can use it to enter a rage mode. During this you’re attacks hit harder making it easier to get kills. One missing function here I didn’t like is the lack of a block button. You can roll to dodge an attack but you have to have really good timing. Not including the option to block is very puzzling to me and it really hurts the gameplay in my opinion.
So with no fighters or stages to unlock you may be wondering what is there to work towards? Well as you complete matches you earn XP for your fighters which levels them up and you also earn gold which lets you buy stuff in the shop. Leveling up fighters allows you to unlock some of those variants to use. Money allows you to purchase one of three types of Pinatas in the Store that give you a random cosmetic item. These include things like taunts, avatar pictures, gear to put on your fighter, skins, and effects. Unfortunately, it’s all up to RNG so if you’re wanting a certain skin or item you just have to hope you’ll get it when you buy a pinata. Not only that but it feels like you don’t earn gold at a fast enough rate to buy them. The most expensive one is 4300 gold and there would be matches where I would earn less than 100 per fight. You can see how long it could take to earn just one pinata that gives you only one item out of it. There is a daily log in bonus that will reward you with either gold or a pinata though as well as some daily objectives.
The graphics in the game look really good though with sharp and vivid colors both on the characters and the stages. The soundtrack was also really good with the main menu track being pretty catchy. If you like trophies and achievements there are 33 in total. You’ll have to unlock all skins, character variants, play hundreds of online matches, level up characters, and perform certain tasks with some of the fighters to earn them all. It’s quite a challenging and grindy list.
Brawlout is affordable, has a great weight and feel to its gameplay and is fun to get a group of friends together to play. The original characters could be better and I didn’t like the lack of a block button. I hope Angry Mob Games continues building on this because there is a great foundation here. With all that said, for those seeking a Super Smash Bros like experience on PlayStation and Xbox, Brawlout is a worthy contender.
*Brawlout is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review key provided by the publisher.