Reviewed on PC
Broforce is a 2D side scrolling run and gun experience in a similar vein to the classic SNK game Metal Slug and more recently Tribute Games’ beautiful Mercenary Kings. You play as the titular Broforce, a paramilitary force sent to take down Satan who has organised a terrorist group to control freedom. Broforce story is not its strong point. Like classic games of the NES era it is a simple paragraph found in the game’s manual. Each Bro is a parody of 80s and 90s action movie stars with each having their own trademark weapon and special attack. Rambro (a parody of Rambo) comes with a fast firing M16 and a pack of grenades while Brommando (a parody of Commando) has a rocket launcher and a rocket salvo. Not all Bros are range based with characters such as Brade (Blade) and The Brode (The Bride) coming equipped with swords.
To talk of each Bro in detail would be a disservice to the game’s unlocking system and really take away from the joy of earning each new Bro. Each Bro has a certain play style but the game never allows you to get used to using just one Bro. As you play through you will come across captured Bros. With each one saved you get an extra Bro but the game forces you to swap to that Bro. It is a really interesting system that constantly forces you to change your play style. It also presents you with a dilemma. Do you save the next Bro and get the extra life at the cost of losing the all-powerful Brominator or do you continue on and wreck shop as the Brominator? It is moments like this that make you realise Broforce has more going for it than just its parody of action movies.
The other notable feature of the game comes in the form of its completely destructible environments. Each Minecraft-like block of terrain can be shot, burned, melted or blown up to your adrenaline fuelled heart’s content. You can use the terrain to your advantage in many different ways. This can stem from blowing up the blocks from under an explosive red barrel to drop on your foes’ heads to digging under all the chaos and going straight to the end goal of killing Satan. The environments really make each combat situation a little more tactical if you find yourself dying from a constant stream of bullets.
Broforce is not just a single-player adventure however. Up to four players can jump onto the same PC and cause mayhem as an elite team of Bros. Single-player is hectic with many explosions going off at the same time. Throw three extra players into the mix and all hell breaks loose. The multiplayer is a lot of fun but can sometimes get a little chaotic. Players are often lost within the onslaught of bullets and explosions. Quite often a Bro is simply lost on screen because a player can’t see what they are hitting or being hit by. It all comes down to a mad dash but that is what adds to the fun. The game will unapologetically kill you where you stand but since it is this much fun you are often left laughing at a fiery death rather than frustrated with the game itself.
The difficulty overall is interesting. The game starts off easy at first with the player given smaller maps to complete and regular checkspoints but increases drastically as the game progresses. The game never seems to rest on just one enemy type either. Unlike the aforementioned Metal Slug series, Broforce is never satisfied with throwing the same enemies at you over and over again. Even within the game’s later levels you will see the introduction of new enemy types that have you completely rethinking the whole strategy of fighting even the smallest of enemy units. Enemy types are often replaced with even bigger versions of themselves. The exploding enemy has now been transformed into an exploding demon that throws out Doom-like flaming skulls. The grunt units are later replaced with undying grunts that never stay down for long. It keeps the gameplay fresh and interesting throughout the whole of Broforce. The main campaign will last you at least four to six hours depending on your skill level with the later Hell chapters becoming the hardest challenge to get over. One final difficulty exists that really shows off just how well designed Broforce really is.
Ironbro mode pulls no punches. From the outset you are told “this mode was not designed to be completed by anyone” and they are not lying. Ironbro turns the difficulty up to eleven and has the added rule of once a Bro dies they are gone forever. That means in total you have only thirty lives through the whole campaign. The game’s great level design really starts to show here. The blocks you use to casually run by are now your best friend as you push them on top of unrespecting enemies below. Explosive barrels are placed just at the opening of ladders allowing you to push them below and take out several enemies at once. Ironbro mode slows the game down drastically but the whole experience changes for the better. They are not joking about that difficulty by the way, you will die… a lot.
Broforce is a game that appeals to an old-school gamer’s mindset. No huge plot connecting the whole experience together just classic run and gun action with a hint of modern day design. The unapologetic difficult Ironbro mode will keep you coming back again and again for more Broforce action while the multiplayer will keep you and your friends entertained for major play sessions.