Brawlout is described as a platform-fighter, but at this point it’s safe to call the genre “Smash Bros”. Nintendo’s held a lock on this play-style since they re-popularized it on the N64.
Of course, genres exist because there are widely accepted forms of play that developers iterate on. First-person shooters, third-person action-rpg, racing etc, all borrow heavily from existing standards. Much like preparing a meal with the same base ingredients, it’s the combination of flavor and texture that creates a signature piece.
Angry Mob Games describes Brawlout’s inspirations:
“The platforming elements and win conditions were inspired by Super Smash Bros, while the various combat moves and ground combos were largely inspired by more violent fighters, like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, switching to a Looney-Toons sense of violence.”
Modes consist of online and local. Devs promise 8-players eventually, but for now it’s four for local and two for online. Online tournaments and spectating will be available later.
The move-set consists of regular attack that can be modified by holding up, down, forward, or back-forward (to execute the running attack). Pressing no direction lets you perform an easy three-hit combo.
The special move can be modified the same as the regular except it doesn’t have a running variation.
A rage meter builds up when giving or taking damage and it allows you to charge the special attacks and perform a c-c-c-c-combo breaker. Once halfway filled you can perform a Burst that spends your meter, stabilizes you to neutral position, and knocks back the opponent. If you find yourself helplessly jumping into a devastating attack, you can use burst to cancel out and find safety.
When full, you’ll enter Rage Mode, letting you knockback enemies further while taking less yourself.
The specials borrow from fighting games, featuring projectiles, dragon punch anti-air, freeze attacks, and more.
There is a double-jump like Smash and the bird character can jump (flap?) six times. Oh, all of the characters are based on animals. The designs are fun and look great.
How does it differ?
Firstly, there are no grabs or shields. This puts a heavier emphasis on offense and speed. How that will shake out competitively remains to be seen of course, but it felt like fun chaos to me.
Although Brawlout promises fighting-game-esque combos and specials I didn’t find much outside the usual Smash realm of moves. Currently the tutorial and move list are disabled, but my experiments yielded nothing out of the ordinary. What’s there works well, but I was hoping for a little more to stand out.
It is faster than Smash, and rewards offense. Of course the meta can drastically change when exposed to competitive play, but a healthy offense served me well during my interactions with local CPU and my limited online play.
I say limited online play as every match I attempted suffered from un-playable slowdown. I have a healthy LAN connection though my upload can underperform at times.
A worthy contender?
PC users looking for a Smash equivalent have a few options out there in Brawlhalla, Mega Byte Punch, Rivals of Aether and any others I might have missed.
Brawlout delivers a polished experience that controls well and feels great. If you or your online buddies don’t have a Nintendo console this could be a nice pickup for only $20.