Monday, April 21, 2014

Broforce: Liberating the world with bullets

The art for Broforce is like a collection of movie posters for the best action movie of all time
Do you love...

If you answered "Yes" to each of these, you are awesome!

If you answered "YES" while pumping a fist in the air and chanting "USA! USA!" then you are BROSOME and you BRO it to yourself to check out BROFORCE!

Broforce will feel familiar to fans of platforming shooters like Metal Slug. Players control "bros" based on famous action movie characters and go up against a horde of terrorists. Every few levels, the "bros" will face a boss with huge amounts of health and special attacks. The environments are almost entirely destructible, so bros always have the option of shooting the ground out from under enemies. Don't get too carried away though, because the more you destroy the level, the harder it becomes to get around.

A game this brotacular is clearly meant to be played with real-life bros sitting next to you, but it's not bad when played alone, either. Something about shooting, stabbing, and blowing up different varieties of bad guys is very satisfying. Surprisingly, the game can be quite difficult, and many levels took me several tries to beat. The deaths rarely felt cheap though, and one thing I learned quickly is to stand back when carnage starts to go down and wait for the dust to settle, rather than charging into every orgy of explosions with the trigger held down.

The game becomes even more fun when played with a real-life bro or three. The latest build introduces online multiplayer, but Broforce shines in local co-op (excuse me, bro-op). The carnage really gets turned up a notch when multiple bros are loose. Hilarity is inevitable when bros frequently save each other's lives, and just as often inadvertently cause one another's deaths.

There is a great selection of bros to choose from, and each one has a unique primary attack and special attack. Most of the primary attacks are variations of "gun," though Rambro's short-range, fast-firing submachine gun feels different from Snake Broskin's long-range, single-shot pistol. Some bros have completely different primary attacks, like Brade (that's Blade+Bro, the "bro" names can't all be winners), who has a sword, or MacBrover (told ya), who throws dynamite. The special attacks also vary widely, from various types of grenades to calling in artillery or becoming temporarily invincible.

My one complaint about the selection of bros is that some of the characters feel out of place, while others should have been included but are clearly missing. How can you have a game that celebrates dumb action movies without including Dolph Lundgren, Steven Seagal, or Jean-Claude Van Damme? Maybe the game's creators didn't want all of the bros to be variations on "white male with a machine gun," but that's what you're stuck with in the action movie genre. And why include a bro based on MacGuyver, who hated guns and refused to kill his opponents? Don't get me started on why they included Neo (as Thomas Bronderson, who is armed with only his fists) or Bronan (as much as I love Conan, we already had Brommando and Brominator, who fit the game much better).

I remember getting excited when I first heard of the Expendables movies. It sounded like a glorious celebration of the old action movie genre. I hoped it would be a chance to get together the original stars with the next generation to indulge in senseless, mindless violence. Instead, it was bleak and purposefully unfun. When I was first looking into Broforce, I saw several reviews that said that Broforce was what the Expendables should have been, and that told me all that I needed to know. I suspect that Broforce isn't so much about recreating action movies as recreating nostalgic memories of what it was like to watch action movies as kids.

The game is still in development, but if you preorder it on Steam or on the Humble site, you can play an early version of it right now, with new updates released periodically. The campaign is pretty short, and at $15 you may wonder if it's worth it, but if you're the kind of person who would enjoy Broforce, I trust you already know. But if you'd like to make sure, you can check out the totally free Brototype first, which includes a lot of earlier versions of the levels and bros you will find in the full version.


  1. The Expendables 2 is everything The Expendables should have been: loud, stupid, self-referential, and ridiculously fun.

    Just like this game. (I agree about some of the out-of-place bros, but the weird ones usually have very different game mechanics, which makes me feel better about their inclusion.)

    1. And now the Expendables universe has collided with Broforce via Expendabros, a free, standalone version of Expendables featuring characters from The Expendables 3:

      What a world we live in!