This past weekend at PAX South, I had the opportunity to try a new competitive platform fighter called Brawlout. The game fits into the same genre of fighting games as the Super Smash Bros. series, but it only takes a moment to realize that Brawlout is very different.
Like Super Smash Bros., your objective is to knock your opponents off the stage and your damage is measured in percentages. When you first pick up the game, it will feel like you’re playing Super Smash Bros., but only for a moment. Brawlout is built to be competitive, and it shows. There are no items, the stages have fewer gimmicks, and the character move sets are simplified.
The demo I played at PAX South had five characters, and each character was completely different. The character I enjoyed the most is an eagle named Chief Feathers. He’s a flying character that uses a projectile to knock opponents away. A projectile-using character in a fighting game doesn’t sound very exciting until you realize that no other character fights this way.
The other characters all have their own emphasis: there’s a frog character that grabs opponents and latches on to them with his tongue, a walrus character that freezes opponents and creates pillars of ice, and a monkey that uses a whip. Every character I played was distinctly different; something that is often not true when describing fighting games.
“Every character I played was distinctly different.”
The matches were fast-paced and fun. We were playing with four players and an eight-player mode is in development. The controls were deceptively simple. I tried repeatedly to discover new moves or to play the game as if it were Super Smash Bros. with no luck. I only found a few different moves for each character, and they all fit the characters perfectly. There is also no block button; instead, you can only dodge. I’m used to fighting games of many varieties focusing on guarding, so this one change was difficult to get used to.
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the developers for a few minutes while playing, and I learned that the game is nearing completion. The launch is set for March on Steam, and a separate launch for consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) is scheduled for the summer. The final game will support local and online multiplayer with up to eight players as well as a story mode. There should be six characters at launch, and they are discussing adding more in the future.
If you enjoy Super Smash Bros., you’re likely to enjoy Brawlout as well. I know I had a great time playing it and everyone I played with seemed to enjoy it as well.