There are a lot of times that my penchant for indie games means I’m dealing with a lot of complex things. Whether they’re intellectual, emotional, or simply downright conceptually bizarre, there’s a ton of things that really make it a complicated process that’s both taxing and rewarding. Sometimes, wading through these deep, layered stories and genre-busting experimental outings makes me sit back and think about a lot of things. I’ve reviewed games that made me stop to consider life, love, or even the very nature of games and why we play them. Sometimes, though, it means wading in to something like Free Lives Games’ game-jam by-product Broforce. It may not be as cerebral, it may not have intense emotional depth; hell, it may not have any real depth at all. But that’s just fine.
To sum up Broforce is a difficult task nonetheless. Somewhere between Terraria and Metal Slug, and with a healthy dose of box-office smash-hit The Expendables, Broforce is everything you’ve ever wanted in an action game heaped into a pile beyond anything you imagined. A massive cast of action-flick inspired characters headlines the destructive tilt, beginning with the default Rambro, Brommando, and the flamethrower-toting B. A. Broracus, and including such highlights as Brobocop, Snake Broskin, and Indiana Brones. Each new bro is unlocked by saving captured bros in the field of battle, which also changes your active bro on the fly and adds to your lives for the level. Every bro brings unique weapons and special attacks to the mix, meaning there’s a bronanza of variety in terms of play style and approach to any given situation; while most offer solid run-and-gun styles, there are a few close-combat and demolitions experts to spice things up.
The gameplay, as you would expect, is pretty well straightforward. You’re there to spread the glory of America and liberate areas from despicable despots and terrorists, plain and simple. Each level consists of a good deal of fully-modifiable terrain and backdrops, scores of enemies, bros to be saved, flags to raise which act as spawn points for your backup bros if you’re killed), and – most times – killing the Devil himself before being carried away on a rope ladder hanging from a helicopter while explosions burst behind you and a sweet guitar riff celebrates your smashing victory over the forces of evil. It’s a hypermasculine, over-the-top parody of every action flick, loaded with balls-to-the-wall action and pretty steep odds, even before you’re facing off against insanely powerful bosses or missile-volleying machinery. Early on, holding down the trigger may lead you to some solid wins, but as you progress, you’ll need to pay a bit more attention or risk blasting away your only chance to reach the next area, or simply blowing yourself up in a flaming blaze of misplaced glory.
Is Broforce a complex game with emotional depth? Absolutely not. Is it a goddamn blast to play, and one of the better-polished Early Access games I’ve dived into? You’d better brolieve it. Even on the more difficult levels, or up against seemingly-insurmountable foes, I was never not having fun. This is a game that’s not trying to be anything that it’s not, and gleefully revels in everything that it is. A phenomenal, unapologetic parody of itself and of all things bro, this game is a force to be reckoned with, and for the bro- er, uh, LOW price of $14.99 on Steam, I definitely think it’s worth picking up. With a fully-fledged single player / co-op “story” mode, online play, deathmatch, level editor, and more, there’s a ton of content for the cost, and it’s all a ton of fun to boot.
[+Great cast of characters with unique traits] [+Fun, intense gameplay] [+Multiple game modes to pick from] [+Plenty of bang for your buck] [-Some small fixes still need done]