The Brotastic Broforce
It’s rare for me to finish a game and say, “Let’s do it again!” But that’s exactly what I said when I finished Broforce‘s self-proclaimed “brototype”. In fact, I’ve been replacing syllables of random words with “bro” since then, like an anxious tic.
Broforce, a cooperative side-scrolling action game from Free Lives, a completely unknown South African studio. It is a deliriously fun homage to 80′s action flicks, so much so that it desperately needs a high five button.
Its central conceit is boneheadly simple: two randomly selected knockoffs of 80′s film stars (multiple Stallones!) enter, fight their way up completely destructible environments, murder a Satanic businessman, and escape on a helicopter. Their own description—a mashup of Contra, Metal Slug, Spelunky, and Vlambeer’s titles—is apt. More apt would be to say this is Contra by way of someone who plays Spelunky by throwing dozens of bombs per level. It’s pure, unadulterated carnage.
My friend and I—playing the much beloved hotseat multiplayer—began the game thinking it an orgy of carnage, the Expendables 2 of co-op experiences. If it was a destructible environment—and everything is—we blew it up. The early game is a deliciously violent maelstrom. You unlock new characters—B.A. Broacus, McBrover, Bro Dredd, and, our personal favorite, Brode—thick and fast, each with new weapons and abilities. You chuckle gleefully as you overwhelm enemy fortifications, blow up the occasional TNT barrel, and tear through levels without so much as a second thought.
Then the game changes. It goes Contra. It gets good.
Suddenly you realize all your characters can only take one hit. Levels are strewn not only with bigger, badder enemies with hair-trigger fingers but also suicide bombers and dozens of explosive barrels, falling blocks, and deadly traps. You start to die. A lot.
I began to feel like Broforce had pulled an action movie turning point on me. We started out on a dangerous mission we could solve violently, but then we ran into trouble: the enemies could fight back. What followed was a training montage of abrupt deaths, quick respawns, and gradual learning. Instead of speed, we needed a plan. Instead of wanton violence, we needed surgical precision. Instead of being a punchline, Brode—the only character with a melee attack—became a killing machine.
In the end, it stops abruptly: this is only a prototype, not even an alpha, after all. The final game promises so much more—dinosaurs, aliens, building your own fort to defend, bromance, online play, and, perhaps most inportantly, capybaras—that I can barely even imagine the chaos of it all. Definitely the kind of insanity I’m going to be looking out for. For now, all we can do is support it on Steam’s new Greenlight program.