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Brawlhalla – First Look (Updated)

Over the years, a handful of games have tried to capture the magic of Super Smash Bros. Not just on PC, mind you, but even on Nintendo’s own consoles. Still, I can say confidently, no game has ever succeeded in doing it the way that Brawlhalla has.

Brawlhalla is a game about warriors chosen by Odin for his army of einherjar, and each match is basically one of their training sessions for the day they march to Ragnarok. As someone who loves Norse mythology, that’s pretty much all they needed to sell me. They sweetened the pot though by throwing in the best elements of Smash Bros. and ramping it up to 11. Battles play like you’d expect; each player has a bar that changes colors representing their percent damage, and the more damage you have on you, the more easily enemies can spike, meteor-smash, or throw you off the stage. Every battle plays under Smash timed battle rules, except ranked. You battle it out for 3 minutes, whoever has the most K.O.s at that time wins.

Brawlhalla changes the formula in the way of stances and button functions. Every character has stats, like they do in Smash, but they work a bit differently. They have a damage and speed stat, with speed functioning like weight in the Smash series. They also have a defense stat. Characters also all have the same basic moveset. A light button, a heavy attack button, a dodge, and a jump key. When you aren’t in a stance, all characters have the same moves. Stances are unique to each character and change what weapons that character gets when they pick up one of the flaming swords that appears on the map. Each character has two, and they change up that character’s playstyle immensely.

Swords make characters play, well, like a sword wielder. Decent range swings, good attack speed and a few powerful attacks. Gauntlets are by far my favorite stance in the game. I love grappler characters in fighting games; I always have. The good news is that when played correctly, the gauntlet has extreme chain-grabbing, combo, and spike potential. Granted, all the weapons do though. Every single weapon is fun to play, and the combo potential is INSANE. Even as a first time player who has a decent amount of skill in Smash, I was pulling off crazy combos and spiking with the best of them.

This is all thanks to Brawlhalla’s overall speed and openness of the combo system. The game encourages you to experiment with all of your regular and heavy attacks with your different weapons to learn what chains together. Dashing out of a move as it ends and catching someone as they’re starting to fly away to add on more damage or land a crucial meteor is a thrill and I was always finding new ways to do it.

The game does have a cash shop, but the only things you can really buy with cash are cosmetics. You unlock characters, called legends, with gold which you get from playing matches. The most expensive legends are around 5300 gold. I had about 2000 gold after just 2 hours of play, and almost an hour of that I spent doing ranked where losses don’t net as much as the regular mode. Getting gold for characters you want is easy and fast. If you want to, though, you can support the game by purchasing a Legends pack, which gives you all current and future legends. It’s only 14.99 USD and well worth it to have the whole roster at the onset.

Some of the cosmetics are awesome though. You can buy skins for your weapons in different stances, there are skins for your Valkyrie robot that brings you back to the fight after each stock, and of course all kinds of character skins. Most of the cosmetics I looked at seemed appropriately priced, so that’s another possible avenue of support if you like the game.

Overall, Brawlhalla is amazing. The game has cool stages with beautiful painted backgrounds, great monetization practices, and most of all it’s damn fun. I’ve been looking for a game to scratch the Smash Bros. itch, but don’t own a console it’s on right now. This game was it and then some. I seriously can’t put it down, and if you haven’t downloaded it yet, go do it right now.

Well, that’s all for today. Let me know what you think down in the comments below, make sure you subscribe, and keep it locked on for all the latest gaming news and reviews.

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