Going into a genre that has been done before makes it difficult to leave a mark. After all, how do you make your title stand out amongst the rest. It seems Turtle Sandbox must have had access to the secret sauce because Cannon Brawl is one of the most enjoyable experiences out there.
You begin as a princess whose kingdom is under siege by none other than your very own uncle. Your father, the king, returns from battle to inform you that he lost and it is now up to you to take up arms. You proceed to board your airship to lead your army to victory. What comes next is pure strategic fun.
Cannon Brawl is a 2D Action Strategy game. It’s this combination of two very different genres that makes this game shine. When one thinks of strategy games they probably expect slow, methodical decisions. You would expect a thinking game, where you watch your enemy and have lots of time to come up with your own strategy. But Cannon Brawl‘s addition of fast paced action is a game changer.
As the captain of the airship you must be quick in both action and thought. As you play, the enemy is building, attacking and claiming much needed space on the battlefield. As you plan out your approach you must put it into action at the same time. Expanding your area of influence and mining some much needed resources in order to fund your attack.
In Cannon Brawl putting down buildings and/or weapons increases the area in which you can place other structures. In order to help get to those higher, hard to reach locations you can also place hot air balloons to further extend your base. Acting quickly and constantly expanding is crucial since the maps are relatively small and field dominance is of the utmost importance.
Adding to the pressure of maintaining said dominance is the fact that all land can be completely and utterly destroyed. If you or an enemy has a point that is providing too much of an advantage, a shot can be placed to blow it out from under you. Of course this can all be avoided if you have the foresight enough to use the proper structures.
One of the strokes of brilliance found throughout the entirety of Cannon Brawl is the fact that the structures have a sense of harmony. No singular tower or building guarantees a win but the combinations will make your small army an absolute wrecking force. However, poor choices will make you crash and burn. Take the shield and laser tower for instance.
After the first few campaign missions the shield tower unlocks allowing you to provide an added level of protection to your base. With a few upgrades it can even stop the largest warheads from destroying your grounds until a new structure enters the fray. Enter the laser tower with it’s ability to drill through layers of terrain and reflect off of shields. Their ability to use the enemies own defenses in order to place hard to get precision shots is invaluable.
Adding a bit of extra strategy to the mix is the choice of several different pilots. You may start with only the Princess but you free several other captains throughout your exploits. Of course new captains wouldn’t be so exciting if they didn’t come bearing gifts. Lucky for you Cannon Brawl has you covered. Every captain has either a special power or a passive perk.
Also present in the campaign are strategy puzzles. These pit you against a number of scenarios where you must use your knowledge of the resources provided to you to reach a goal. One such puzzle provides you with balloons, mining, and shield towers and challenges you to survive several barrages of missiles. While this may seem simple enough on the surface these puzzles speak to the amount of management required to be triumphant in Cannon Brawl.
Having so few options at your disposal requires heavy thinking. You must manage cool down time in order to always have a shield available. Protecting your mining facilities and shield towers is a must requiring even more shields. Having to make the decision between building a new tower or upgrading an existing one while still maintaining your current status will test even the sharpest strategists in Cannon Brawl.
You can earn medals throughout your adventure for staying active and decimating foes quickly. Medals unlock other puzzles and contribute to some of the present side challenges in Cannon Brawl. Completing side challenges earns you XP which can be used to purchase more powerful weaponry that you can use in the multiplayer mode.
Cannon Brawl allows players to compete either locally or online for good fun and ranked battles. Taking everything you learned from the campaign and using it against another person is satisfying. Even if you don’t win you always learn something to use in the next battle as you fight your way to the top. Using every single battle as a stepping stone just adds to the experience that Cannon Brawl so excellently provides.
Seamlessly combining a strategy game with a surprising amount of depth and fast paced action definitely makes Cannon Brawl stand out from the bunch. Smooth gameplay, a solid campaign and fun multiplayer add up to one solid game. If you’re looking for a strategy title that pushes you to be on top of your game look no further.