At PAX this year, Angry Mob Games showed off their first big, PC and console title, Brawlout. Brawlout is a platform fighter that is a lot like Super Smash Bros., but with some different little nuances. In the end, it is a ton of fun.
In the past, Angry Mob has only made mobile games, so it is impressive to see them step up to the big leagues with such ease. The studio has been working on Brawlout for only about a year and a half, and it has a robust competitive mode with online support, and will have an entire single player campaign in the vein of Street Fighter. They will also be supporting the competitive side by creating in game tournaments and taking advantage of services like Xbox Arena. They’ve also made it to Evo and Super Smash Con already, and from what they told me, it seems people are taking to it well.
While it does feel like Super Smash Brothers, the developers have made a point not to include grabs, blocks or tripping. This whittles the mechanics down to its core — punch stuff. There’s still dodging and special moves, but Brawlout feels more about beating up your opponent and less about forcing them into submission. Another difference is the addition of the “Rage Meter,” which fills as you get hit by enemies. Once full, the overall power of your character increases, giving you the chance to come back. It plays great and feels right at home on the Xbox One controller that I played it on.
Each character is based on a certain archetype, with their own sets of specific moves and abilities, but they are all aggressive, which reinforces the whole punch stuff mantra. There’s King Papu, who is a purple monkey who whips a ball and chain around as a long range weapon. The only other long range character was Olaf Tyson, who can shoot ice shards at enemies that freeze them for a short time. Olaf can also create an ice tower that saves him from falling to his death on the sides of the map. Chief Feathers can jump forever as he flaps his wings, but also uses them to cut through enemies. Sephi’ra uses her strong legs to kick her enemies furiously and relentlessly. Gancho Puncho the frog was not available in the build I got to play, but from footage we’ve seen we know that he can grab with his tongue to save him from the edge, and do a seemingly unstoppable spin move.
When it comes to balancing, Angry Mob has focused on making good archetypes with fun moves first and then worried about balancing afterwords. This method seems to have worked, because none of the four characters that I played felt any stronger than another, just different. Learning different characters will be part of the fun in Brawlout, but with the smaller number of options compared to other fighters, that choice might be a bit easier.
Brawlout will release into early access on Steam with eight characters and then ten characters when the game is fully released. Speaking of release dates, the game is in a closed alpha right now and will hit early access sometime in January or February. After that, it will release simultaneously on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC sometime in March or April.