If you can get past the lack of music, and the simple design, Mugsters is a joyful little game. Taking the camera approach of older titles like Commandos and Cannon Fodder, and throwing in trial-and-error mechanics of its contemporaries such as Trials (no pun intended) and Hotline Miami, Mugsters holds its own in an ever-increasing puzzler genre.
Airheart initially didn’t put flight to my fancy with what seemed like a boring, slow mechanic. Scratch a bit deeper though, and begin to get your teeth into the customising and tactical behaviour of your enemies, and there’s a surprisingly deep combat/farming game in there. I can’t guarantee it will hold up in the long term, especially having to essentially go from level one each time, but if you’re willing to perservere to reach those upper limits and beyond, then you can’t go wrong with Airheart.
There’s an absolutely brilliant side quest that’s so tongue in cheek, it’s in danger of bursting through it. It’s hilarious in its deadpan, fourth wall breaking delivery that makes up for its usage of the word “dank”. I won’t spoil anymore, but it’s a testament to Drinkbox that they can take this all in stride and poke fun at themselves, the fans, the toxic community and the power of internet opinions and leave the player grinning throughout.
Strange Brigade is a formulaic action co-op that doesn’t break new ground as much as furrow a new groove in an already abundant genre. Does that make it boring though? No. Certainly not, and it’s actually quite brilliant. I haven’t really elaborated on the story, but not out of laziness or lack of understanding. There’s a dashing tale of adventure to be had, involving mummy queens and raided tombs. I just don’t want to spoil it for you. You may work out some tropes for yourself, especially if you’ve seen Brendan Fraser do his thing. It’s got some neat little jump scares in there, too.
There was potential here. All the developer had to do was take a piece of paper, write “Why do people love Golden Axe?” in the middle and go from there. They even gave us couch co-op, three different character class and even some RPG-esque attribute/skill progression system. It’s just a shame that the end product is [literally] flat and uninspired. I can’t even say, “Yeah but the combat’s fun” or “The story is a masterpiece”.
I’d say play SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy if you’re a die hard SNK fan, or you fancy something new for your pugilist palette, or just in the market for a random weekend game to play with friends. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary. Or tell your mother what you’ve spent your money on.