By Colin Malone / November 29th, 2014
|Title||In Space We Brawl|
|Release Date||October 14, 2014|
|Genre||Twin Stick Sooter|
|Platform||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Everyone|
In Space We Brawl is a twin-stick shooter for the PS3 and PS4 in which you fly a spaceship around a single screen and shoot at stuff. One stick controls the ship’s movement and the other controls the direction of the weapon. It gets a little more complex than that, but that’s the general idea. So, is In Space We Brawl a great indie game or does it suffer from rookie blues?
There are several different ships from which to choose — each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are fast, but with low defense, some are slow with high defense. One ship can attack by ramming, another can push asteroids into people, and other such features. Likewise there are multiple weapons to pick — each that works slightly differently. And, of course, there are multiple stages, as well — each with different hazards and gimmicks. Some have asteroids, some have aliens, some have black holes. While they all have different colors, they all still look pretty samey.
The game honestly feels a bit like an evolution on the old Asteroids formula. If it had turned into a series, it might have spawned a game like In Space We Brawl. Aside from having a multiplayer element, the basic gameplay is virtually unchanged. Because there are two sticks, you can shoot in a different direction than the one you’re moving, but, otherwise, it’s the same principle: fly and shoot.
By the way, I hope you like local multiplayer. Because that’s the only mode worth playing in this game. There single player is limited to “Challenges Mode” which effectively serves as the game’s tutorial. Of course, if you’ve ever wanted to see an example of how not to do a tutorial, In Space We Brawl can serve as an excellent example.
It’s divided into several short little segments, each highlighting a minor aspect of the game. Each gives you a simple explanation of a mechanic before forcing you to put it into practical use, before giving you adequate time to practice. This in turn means that you will die. A lot. And it punishes you for your failure too. Each time you lose (and you will lose) the game boots you back to the stage selection menu with an insulting message from one of the tutorial’s “instructors,” wasting the player’s time in the most frustrating way.
There’s no online multiplayer, either, which, while odd for any game in this day and age, is all the more baffling since this game is almost entirely focused on multiplayer. With the short, but intense matches, I feel like online play would have fit this game quite well. I like local multiplayer as much as the next person. In fact, I find it preferable to online multiplayer in most cases, but it’s still useful since, as I’ve gotten older, I can’t get friends together to play as often as I used to be able to.
For the gameplay itself, it’s fairly uninspired. All you do is fly and shoot. While the different stages can offer different challenges, and the different ships and guns can mix things up a bit, there really isn’t enough variety to keep things interesting for long. The gameplay is simple enough that it’s easy to just jump in and play, and you can go through several matches fairly quickly. While the “Challenges” mode might keep you busy for an afternoon at the most, you could keep playing the multiplayer for as long as you can stand it.
As for the game’s aesthetics, the art style isn’t bad. While the levels are bland, they’re still colorful and ships pop out quite nicely and all manage to look distinct in way that conveys their particular strengths. The music, on the other hand, isn’t so great. It’s a bland samey techno mix that plays constantly. It’s not noticeable enough to get to grating, yet it doesn’t improve the game in any way.
All in all, I’d call In Space We Brawl bland. Not bad per se, just bland. The gameplay isn’t particularly interesting and the lackluster presentation doesn’t do much to help that. The lack of single player or online multiplayer modes certainly doesn’t help matters. I was able to play through most of the game’s content in about two or three hours. If this is the sort of game you’re into, then you’ll probably find it enjoyable and get more time out of it than I did. For myself, though, I’d say save your money because, at $11.99, it’s not really worth the price.
Review copy supplied by author.
This review copy is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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