Broforce is a side scrolling action game big on guns, explosions, and bros (you and up to three of your friends). On the surface, this sounds great, but does the package come together and make 80s action movie glory? It is somewhere between Die Hard and Enter the Ninja.
Broforce has you taking control of different bros as you attempt to vanquish various forms of evil around the globe. All the bros are variations on action heroes (such as Brobocop, Rambro, Indiana Brones, etc.) and have a basic, special, and melee attack. You start each level with one life as a random bro and as you progress through the levels, you can rescue other captured bros. This gains you an additional life and you get transformed into a random bro you have already unlocked. Bros are unlocked (32 in all) after achieving a certain number of rescues.
The characters are surprisingly diverse, not only in attacks, but also in walking speed, sprinting speed, and jump height. Since all of the characters play so differently, rescuing a bro can sometimes seem risky. I definitely had favorites, and some were only useful is specific situations, but I did not find any of them to be downright bad. As a result, I never turned down the opportunity to rescue a bro and get an extra life.
Graphically, Broforce is part of the pixel revolution we are in, and they do it well. You can easily tell which bro you are controlling, what enemies types are around you, and how the environment is going to react to destruction. I understand many people are over pixel graphics, and it is being done a lot, but I do think it works well for Broforce since the game is all about the 80s and 90s action films. The music is what you would expect from a frenetic action game with a driving rhythm that propels you forward and the voice over work is deliciously cheesy.
The gameplay is a pretty straightforward combination of jump, shoot, avoid getting shot yourself, and get to the end of the level. There is an added wrinkle that virtually everything in a level can be destroyed. This means that most levels have multiple ways you can approach them, not just the one that looks obvious. As you progress through each level, you come across flagpoles which become your respawn points. In some of the larger levels, there will be a mid-way checkpoint where you will restart if you lose all of your lives. You do have to be careful in just blowing everything up (especially later in the game) because sometimes getting to the final flag pole can become near impossible when everything on the screen has been destroyed. There were a few situations where I had to be pretty creative to finish a level and while I am not certain if you can ever make it impossible for yourself to reach the end of a level, I saw situations where I believe it could happen.
When I wrote the first part of this review, I was about halfway through the game and I almost finished the review without finishing the game. I figured how much could the game change in the last half? Unfortunately for Broforce, the answer is a lot.
One problem Broforce has is a pretty significant control bug. Two second after you begin a level (either for the first time or if you are starting over because lost all your lives) you lose all ability to control your character for a full second, but everything else in the game continues to happen. While this was annoying in the first-half of the game, it never really got me into too tight of a situation. If this had been the only problem, I may have been able to overlook it. Unfortunately, that is not the only problem.
In the second-half of the game the control bug persists, and it actually starts to matter as some levels throw you into the action immediately. That really sucks when no matter what you do, your bro will not move and you can see death coming right at you. Additionally, load times get longer and longer as you progress through the game. By the end of the game there were times I was staring at a black screen for what felt like close to a minute. This should not be a big deal, but when you combine a control bug that leads to deaths you cannot avoid, and long load times, the end of the game started getting a little ridiculous.
I could have probably forgiven those if not for the frame rate issues. There were a couple slumps in the early levels, but nothing dramatic for me. However, in the second half of the game, I was attempting to play the entire sections of levels with frame rates that had to be in the 10fps range. Almost the entire final boss fight was this way for me which made it a drag to play and extremely frustrating to complete. There were a number of times I almost walked away from the game because the performance got so poor.
Overall, Broforce is a fun concept that fails almost exclusively because of technical issues. If those can be addressed through patches, I may adjust my review, but I would wonder why the game ever launched in the state that it is. If you do play, do yourself a favor and walk away after the first half until the technical issues are resolved.