by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
The Rise of Free-to-Play
The free-to-play MMORPG scene has been bursting at the seams with new titles for the past few years, and the market has become a war zone with every new title fighting for the scraps of players not currently invested in one of the bigger titles. Some things have been relatively over-looked by the free-to-play wave, however, and those are the more casual online shooter and action scenes. Rock Hippo is moving in to fill that gap, and has already released MicroVolts, a fun and frantic third-person online shooter, and are now showing off the upcoming Brawl Busters, an online action brawler featuring the same funky and cartoony style that made their previous title unique. We got our greasy little hands on the game and, after playing it for a while, we had a lot of fun with it
A Glowing Mystery
Not much has been released about the back story of the colourful world this game takes place in, but this is what we know so far: Something is making the world look all skewed and crooked, our heroes' weapons have a glowing substance in them called 'Glow'.'Glow' is the most valuable resource on Earth and is the cause of the world looking weird. Not much else has been revealed about the game and how well the developers have managed to hide it in the beta so as not to spoil the surprise upon release is quite impressive.
The game is an action oriented brawler featuring three game modes: Team Deathmatch, Zombie Survival, and Glow Rush. Glow Rush is the only one that needs clarification as the other two are pretty self-explanatory. Every player starts off with a certain amount of Glow. Every time a player is killed, he drops his glow and the enemy team picks it up. The first team to gather all 43 units of glow before the timer runs out, wins. Sometimes this mode can become a frantic tug of war between the teams, with each team gaining and losing points at the same rate. Other times, the match is seemingly over before it even began.
A Colourful Cast of Characters
When the player starts the game, he will get the opportunity to set his character's basic appearance. This will be his default look, but he will have the option to change it later on, for a fee. The game features 5 distinct character classes, each with his own special attacks and powers. The 'Slugger' is a baseball player wielding a rather heavily customized bat. He's a very effective long-ranged brawler and can shoot off seeking balls that home in on enemy players and destructable objects. His special attack is a supercharged homing ball aimed at an enemy player. The 'Firefighter' sprays the enemy with his hose. His secondary attack is a long-ranged shot that acts almost like artillery. His special ability, on the other hand, is to throw up a temporary defensive barrier between himself and the rushing enemy hoards. The 'Rocker' runs around swinging his guitar at the enemy. He can also shock players with his guitar and perform an area-of-effect special attack which pushes enemies back. The 'Boxer' is the fastest class in the game, but also suffers from being the weakest. He can charge at the enemy, fists first, and send out a range of flaming gloves towards his enemies. And last, but definitely not least, is the 'Blitzer', an American football player who's very adept at dealing with multiple enemies at the same time. His secondary attack is a touch down move that shatters the ground and stuns nearby enemies. His attack power comes at a price, however, as he is one of the slowest characters in the game.
Cool and Casual
All of this makes for a well rounded and entertaining game, and one that's easy to just jump in and play for a few minutes and then jump out again. Rock Hippo's emphasis here is on fun. Fast and frantic fun. With the game being free-to-play and with every item in game being purchasable both with real money and the earned in-game currency, I don't see why anyone would want to stay away from this title. It is action oriented, its cartoony aesthetics are well done, getting in and out of a match is quick and easy, and best of all: It is free. The hardcore amongst us may be looking for more depth and better production values, but the casual gamers, who simply don't have time to spend 15 minutes starting up the game, another 15 watching cinematics and then 20 minutes getting used to the controls, will relish the simplicity, ease of access, and speed at which Brawl Busters excels.