PAX East 2017: Free to Play Fighter Brawlhalla Brings Competition to All

After being invited to PAX East back in 2014, the guys and girls at Blue Mammoth Games realized that they needed to submit a name to Penny Arcade before they could get a booth for their sci-fi gladiator game. Whilst trying to think of a name suitable, someone threw out Brawhalla, and while they couldn’t see how that would fit into a sci-fi setting, they couldn’t deny that it was a good name. So what they did instead was scrap an entire six months of art assets and began adjusting to this new idea.

What we see three years later is a fleshed out 2D platform fighter that focuses on the skill of the player, but also throws in a few variables to keep things interesting. It’s gotten a great new paint job and given a subtle yet interesting set of backstories to the characters that are based on folklore from around the world. It’s an interesting concept, and what Blue Mammoth has done to build a community and a medium for which to gain feedback makes Brawlhalla a better and better fighter for the people playing it and that’s awesome.

From what I played, which was a game of Brawlball and a round of 2v2, it seemed like a platform fighter that could really contend with the big guys, especially since it is coming to PlayStation 4 and Steam. The control scheme is accessible for casual players but also capable enough for the uber competitive crowd to make with it what they will. What differentiates it, too, is the fact that without weapons, the characters’ kits are almost identical, but when the weapons drop, players are able to use more of their abilities, which staggers the match in an interesting way that hasn’t been done before.

And while it wasn’t their plan at the start, the developers have leaned heavily into the eSports crowd, who seem have taken a liking to the game. They’ve added competitive seasons, ranked mode, and more to please that crowd. They even had their own championship last summer where they had regional qualifiers and then flew the competitors out to Atlanta where they’re based to duke it out for $50,000. They said they’ll be having another one sometime this year, so keep an eye out if you’re interested.

A new legend was also at the show, and his name is Mordex. Mordex is a werewolf, and features the two newest weapons to be added to Brawlhalla; the scythe and the gauntlets.

The werewolf is not the first to use these weapons, as the previous two characters, Nix and Mirage use the scythe, and Cross, Val, Wu Shang, and Kor all use the gauntlets. What will make Mordex special will be his stats, which is the main differentiator between the legends in Brawlhalla. Whether he’s fast or powerful or can take a hit, you’ll be able to decide for yourself who you prefer to take into battle.

Mordex will be joining the fight in the coming week.

Brawlhalla is available in Beta right now on Steam, and will be coming some time this year to PlayStation 4 in its full release.