Hey Satan. Remember when I promised to kill you last? I lied. (cue throwing Satan off a cliff) Now that’s not a line in the game, but it is a trophy for something that you can do, namely tossing Satan off a cliff while controlling a thinly veiled parody of Arnie. And really, that is what Broforce is all about. It’s an amusingly tongue in cheek game with fast paced action reminiscent of Metal Slug or Contra, old school 8Bit graphics style presentation, and a ridiculously over the top parody/ homage to the magnificent and occasionally moronic world of action cinema. While it’s a rather short game with little in the way of features, the intense fast paced arcade style gameplay and absurdly macho humour make it well worth checking out for anyone with fond memories of either retro games or classic action films.
As part of the Broforce, America’s elite team of heroes, your mission is to rampage through stages, save prisoners of war, and massacre large quantities of terrorists, aliens, and demons whilst causing a ton of explosions. All the while controlling “Bro” parodies of classic action movie heroes; Rambro, the Commandbro, Bro Hard, as well as relatively new action film heroes such as Brochete and the Brodock Saints. It’s ridiculous, it’s terrible, and it’s hilarious how they manage to shoehorn “Bro” into the names of as many action hero characters as they can. Sadly, there’s no plot to speak of, and not in a, “this 90 minute Stallone gunfight has no plot aside from nonspecific revenge” kind of way. Which is a shame because I think they could have really been on to something here with their combination of violence, patriotism, and off kilter humour. It could have been like Team America, but if everyone was on steroids and had heavy firepower.
Somewhat reminiscent of Metal Slug, the game is a fast paced run and gun action platformer. You rush through stages gunning down all kinds of enemies, while rescuing POWs to change characters, earn extra lives, and unlock new characters. It’s a simple formula, but the surprisingly large roster of characters adds a bit of variety to things. Characters tend to be equipped with different weapons and have different special attacks. Rambro has machine guns and grenades. Bronan the Barbarian has a sword that can thankfully deflect bullets, and Indiana Brones has a whip as his main weapon. You change characters with every POW you save, so over the course of a single stage you can swap multiple times. It adds an interesting challenge to things, often requiring you to change things up, particularly when you get a tricky character like Brogyver, who uses dynamite instead of guns, which have terrible range and get thrown in an arc. The stages are also highly destructible and you can take out the walls and floors, adding an extra strategic touch to the classic, coin-op arcade style gameplay. Finally, Broforce supports up to 4 player co-op, in online or local, which really makes the action crazy.
Presentation wise, Broforce goes for 80’s style pixel art, music that’s heavy on the wild guitar solos, and a growling guttural narrator who more or less roars everything like some angry mulleted headband wearing hero storming the jungle fortress of some band of baddies somewhere. Everything explodes and bursts into flames, enemies are turned into meaty chunks, blood splatters everywhere, and it’s utterly ridiculous in the best kind of way. The 1980’s action movie way. It’s retro style but in an over the top fashion.
There are some unfortunate flaws to the game though. While the lack of story, and the relatively thin gameplay aren’t exactly unusual considering the types of games that Broforce are imitating – arcade run and gunners that were meant to be played in short bursts and rob you of as many coins as they could get away with, there are some performance issues. Which considering it’s a retro themed game running on a PS4, is utterly bizarre. Framerate often drops during more action packed sequences, and the controls often seem unresponsive at the start of each mission. Which can end up killing you quite often.
Despite the technical issues and despite the thin gameplay and lack of story, Broforce is still a highly entertaining arcade style run and gun game. It’s a wonderful homage and parody of classic action movies with a groan inducing but hilarious sense of humour, it features gameplay that will make you fondly reminisce about Contra or Metal Slug, and it’s got some great presentation, with it’s over the top bloody pixel art, and a metal filled soundtrack. It also features an absolutely incredible theme song that you should Youtube right now. It starts with the call of a Bald Eagle, and is all about kicking ass for justice and liberty. Which is pretty much Broforce in a nutshell.
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