Top Critic Average
Brawl has all the elements a Bomberman fan could possibly want: fun, addictive gameplay, a great multiplayer mode, and tons of unlockable stages and characters. It may suffer from some tone issues during the course of its story mode, and gameplay may end up feeling a bit repetitive, but this is some of the most fun you can have on the PS4 at the moment.
Applying a new aesthetic to the established gameplay formula of Konami's Bomberman series, BRAWL brings a unique darker feel and subtle mechanic changes, grouped together in a bundle of multiplayer goodness. There are only some frame-rate issues that hold it back slightly, and the lack of online play also proves to be a bit disappointing.
But then again, BRAWL isn't really about being easy. It is about forcing players to make strategic moves and plan accordingly, all while giving them a limited amount of time to do so. It's fast, it's smart, and it's absolutely worth picking up, especially if you dig party games. While it has some flaws, BRAWL is a game that will keep you occupied for quite a while. It also should be noted that PlayStation Network accounts that purchased Basement Crawl will be credited with BRAWL for free, giving you yet another excuse to download and play the game when it releases.
Leaps and bounds ahead of their previous effort, Brawl might not be the most polished title available and the dark setting certainly feels overdone but as a multiplayer party title, the game arguably brings the thrills where it counts.
BRAWL is by no means a perfect game, but it does well enough to join the ranks of party games I will be playing when friends come to visit. The game is unforgiving when it comes to the AI, and some players can learn from this while others will be destroyed constantly, which is unfortunate. With some tweaking here and there and adding difficulty levels, BRAWL could be amazing. Taking the game as it is, however, I have to say that I would really only pick this up if I had people that I could call up for an evening of beers-and-bombing.
BRAWL is a decent game that hearkens back to the glory days of Bomberman. It's what Basement Crawl tried to be. The single-player difficulty is just too crazy, there still isn't quite enough content, and the technicals are sorta ho-hum.
Ultimately, Brawl falls well short of being a great game. The control issues and, in my personal experience, difficulty finding players to match up with fail to capitalize on the visual design and setting.
In the end Brawl isn't necessarily a bad game, it's just a hodge podge of ideas that individually may work but somehow when they're mashed together it doesn't seem to congeal.
In the end Brawl isn’t necessarily a bad game, it’s just a hodge podge of ideas that individually may work but somehow when they’re mashed together it doesn’t seem to congeal. There’s obviously been effort to inject some personality into things but at the same time what makes each character distinct ends up detracting a bit from the ease of handing someone a controller and having some fun. With the voice work it’s also obvious that the single-player story mode had some investment but the glorified tutorials with somewhat bland play and wonky AI failed to leave a very positive impression. Just from top to bottom the overall effort plays out as pretty average, though its stuttering periodic performance issues make it more difficult to redeem.
Brawl has added it's own little spin on the genre by giving each of the characters their own unique abilities which can create some fun and chaotic gameplay with friends. Although I really enjoyed the comic book art style, the lack of story and single player gameplay has let this game down. As it offers no online gameplay on the Switch, it has limited itself to local co-op mode which isn’t going to suit many people. It would be a great pickup game for a group of friends wanting to chill and have a good time but other than that it would serve no purpose on my Switch.
BRAWL tries really hard to bring something new to the bomb blasting formula but for the most part, just ends up being a scarily average clone. There's a lot wrong with BRAWL but if you can get past that, this is an alright affordable alternative to Bomberman with an interesting theme and minor gameplay twists. While the story in this game suffers from many cliches and the game can feel terribly uninspiring and glitchy, the voice acting and art style help make up for this and make this explosive mess somewhat bearable. If you're interested in a different alternative to something like Super Bomberman R to shake things up, BRAWL might be worth a look for you, but otherwise, you'd probably rather be blown up than play this.
Despite having a perfect soundtrack and wonderfully creepy voice-over, Brawl's single-player misses the mark thanks to its insane difficulty. Over-powered characters also make the local versus multiplayer hit and miss, and add in the steep price point and Brawl fails to light the fuse. It's particularly disappointing as Brawl is almost a second attempt of Basement Crawl, but Bloober Team simply haven't learnt from their past mistakes.
Brawl takes an existing concept and adds a B-grade horror theme to give it a unique twist. It's not as fun as its source material, but horror fans may get a kick out of its dark, twisted humor.
Brawl could have been a fun party game with a sinister tone but it falters at too many steps. The gameplay can be fun but the slow pace of it requires a lot of patience and forward thinking from the player. The campaign is disappointing and other party games do a much better job than Brawl making the online options commendable but sadly irrelevant. Unfortunately Brawl is one party game that isn't a blast to play.
Bomberman has seen its up and downs over the years, but the overall formula is still a popular one with a lot of players. Brawl seeks to capitalize on a lot of the same gameplay elements while adding a horror aesthetic. All in all, it is a competently made game, but not one that does enough to make it a more compelling play than the games that clearly inspired it.
Aside from the story, there are local multiplayer and challenge modes. The latter does offer some really interesting game types like a horde mode, a boss challenge and a type that asks you to protect a flock of sheep. But, for me at least, I didn’t find any urge to pick up my Switch and play Brawl. This could have been a great game, but it tries to sell players something that we’ve already seen done much better and a style that just doesn’t merge all that well with the idea.
If you're interested in a horror-inspired Bomberman clone with shaky movement, non-distinct stages and a toned down freneticism BRAWL might just pique your interest. For the rest of you looking for a party/combat game there are other, more solid feeling, options out there including but not limited to Switch's own Super Bomberman R.