More American than Apple Pie
Do you remember when games were hard and frustrating to the point where you had to walk away for a bit? If you’re anything like me, you miss games like that. Games that won’t baby you and walk you through the game. That’s one of the biggest draws to indie games for me. These are the guys that share the same sentiment and develop games that they would have loved as kids, which are usually games I would have loved as a kid. The most recent one that I have had the privilege to play is Broforce from Free Lives Games. This game is a throwback to 2D side scrolling shooting platformers like Contra Metal Slug and Mega Man. It also oozes American values. I’ve never felt more patriotic than being a bro and liberating countries that absolutely needed and wanted democracy.
At its core Broforce is just like its predecessors and it has all the things that make a classic 2D shooting platformer. Most of your in-game time is spent in a jungle, and every level has an end boss that gets progressively harder. And we can’t forget the shallow story lines! What Broforce does to differentiate itself is genius. Instead of getting weapon upgrades, you rescue your Bros that to show their gratitude and help you in the fight. So if you save a hostage you get a Bro, and each Bro is very different from each other. Now not only do they play differently, but each Bro is a person that is very important in American history. The very guys that gave us a super power are the same guys who won us the Cold War. That’s right, I’m talking about action heroes, ranging from the late 70s all the way to the 2000s, where just about every great character is portrayed. It got to the point where I had unlocked what I thought was all the characters and was incredibly happy with the amount of Bros I got to use. Then I would save someone just for the extra life and boom I got a new character screen. And with every new character I would laugh, and cheer. All of my favorite characters were represented! The amount of characters is so deep I’ve been playing it non-stop trying to see if there are any characters that I missed.
Now while the gameplay is similar to the games of old, Broforce feels crisp. I encountered no bugs, and no glitches. But it also suffers from the same thing a lot of the older games did, where many of the levels just feel reused with maybe a new boss or new enemy type. But I was unlocking new Bros so often that I felt it was okay. Each level did feel like it was a reskin of the other, but one cool mechanic made it so by the time I was done with the level it looked nothing like it did before. Everything in this game can be destroyed. You can take the level that a game developer spent time on and completely destroy it and make it your own. You can use the environment to kill enemies, or avoid them all together. This allows you to play each level very differently, which really adds to the replay value of the game. It also has multiplayer so even after you beat the game you can go back in with your Bros, take controls of some new Bros and work together, or just try and blow each other up and race to the chopper; you know, like real Bros.
Visually the game is awesome. 8-bit pixel art done in a fantastic way. It is strangely satisfying seeing a little pixelated bad guy turn into nothing but a bloody cloud of pixelated gore. Seeing your favorite action star in a pixel art form. The game is beautifully simple. Now on to my favorite aspect of this game. The soundtrack. As soon as I heard the mechanical bald eagle screech and the guitar solo start I was hooked. I sat on the title screen for three minutes just to hear the song, and loved every second of it. I would blast through levels just to get to the chopper and hear that wonderful guitar solo signifying that I liberated these people the only way America knows how. Through bulging muscles and explosions.
This game is by far one of the best indie games I’ve played in a very long time. The tongue in cheek humor, the seemingly endless amount of characters that you can unlock and play with, recreating your favorite scenes from movies. And a soundtrack that made me want to fly on a bald eagle as it carries Slash playing a solo. Do yourself a favor, be the Bro America needs — pick up this game. You won’t regret it.