Broforce: Bros, justice and the action way
Updated: Jul 21
Once upon a time, during the 80s and 90s there existed the action hero, where a typically overly muscled man fights some sort of threat by shooting everything that is not them. Not the most intelligent of genre (most of the time at least Die Hard happened after all) but it was a fun genre, perfect popcorn for the brain as well as a great time to spend with friends and family. Broforce is very much like that, a great love letter to that particular time in creative history straight down to the simple story and the sheer amount of fun.
To talk about the story would suggest that there is much of a story to talk about, you play as a number of parody characters based off 80s and 90s action movies (Mr Anderson is now Mr Anderbro etc) who make up a team know as Broforce, who throw themselves (sometimes literally) into levels teaming with Terrorists, Hell spawn and Xenomorphs to everything under the sun, it is all very silly and nonsensical guff and I would have not asked for more .The story is merely there as a reason for you doing what you are doing, hell there is a mode where you can avoid the story all together and just enjoy the gameplay and levels without the cut scenes. The writing is very tongue in cheek and just very, very silly.
Broforce itself is a 2d platforming, run and gun affair with a bit of puzzle platforming thrown in for good measure. The platforming itself works fine with you being able to double jump, wall climb and run though the series of levels with the steady increase in difficulty and all that jazz. However, while the level designs itself is rather basic with little in terms of exploration or hidden secrets (you just have to run from one side of the map to the other). Creativity comes into play with the destruction mechanic, all terrain can be destroyed in order to create new pathways in order out of danger, this is fun as you can approach levels in any way you want, you also have to balance the risk of just shooting wildly as every level are littered with explosive barrels and gas canisters that can easily kill you as much as they can help you. The terrain destruction mechanic and knowing when to shoot and to shoot what can adds a level of depth to a game that could have easily been button mashing silliness. This becomes apparent especially with the boss fights, one of which where you have to vanquish all the ground under the invulnerable boss in order to make it fall it it’s death or setting off gas canisters at the right time to deal massive damage to a boss. These bosses are pretty well designed for the most part making the player use all the mechanics they have learned over the game to great effect while allowing player creativity to shine through.
There are 35 Bros total, and are surprisingly varied and well designed (mostly, more about later) each one have their own benefits and special moves (Time Bro can slow down time, the Brodator can become invisible and can instant target any one nearby etc ) some of their attacks can create makeshift platforms (Brodator and his spears, Ellen Ripbro attacks can stun more powerful enemies etc ) While they are all fun to use to an extent some are very obviously unbalanced with certain heroes being objectively better then some, some of the Bros like Cherry Broling or Colonel James Broddork are very awkward to handle (one can only shoot downwards while running while the other fires only grenades that take a few seconds to explode). These Bros throw the pacing out of whack and would always cause me to emit a groan of annoyance whenever I ended up with them. This imbalance becomes even more apparent in the multiplier PVP where you could win by just having one certain Bro (Time Bro) against any other of the Bros because the time slowing mechanic has not balanced, making the one hit needed to win the match extremely easy if not guaranteed. I do like that you unlock new Bros by rescuing captives scattered around the map who in turn act as your lives. It insures that you cannot miss a Bro as well shaking up the formula because you do not know how many more you would need to unlock the next Bro.
While graphically simplistic (very low resolution 2d pixel art) Broforce shines in it’s basic but memorable art style, all the Bros look close enough to the characters they are parodying while looking distinctly original, the drawn cut scenes themselves are easy on the eyes detailing the ridiculously over muscled men with tiny legs that should not be able to support the rest of the body. The music is over the top heavy metal that just makes you want to shake your head like a Rockstar whenever you finish a level.
The game ran perfectly fine, consistent FPS with no graphical glitches or bugs what so ever. On PC it is a pretty well optimized game.
Broforce, in the hands of a lesser dev team could have come across as a one note joke. However Free Lives have crafted a deeply enjoyable bit of junk food that left me with a big smile after every session.