There’s nothing quite like Broforce. Sure, there are other run and gun games out there – and there are plenty of heartfelt, nostalgic tributes to the 80s to be found. There are lots more recreations of the 8-bit and 16-bit aesthetic, utilising more modern design techniques; not to mention the ability of modern hardware to handle a hell of a lot more sprites without the dreaded slowdown creeping in.
Yet there’s really nothing out there quite like Broforce. With so many copyright-baiting recreations of famous characters (all given a name incorporating ‘Bro’ – Rambro, Brommando, Brominator, The Boondock Bros etc) and settings from movies, TV shows, comic books – and even video games themselves – there’s seems to be an attitude here of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
And remarkably, pretty much all of it does.
What starts as a recreation of the 80s action movie trope of dropping our boys (or ‘Bros’, as they’re referred to here – even when they’re female) into hostile foreign warzones – and blowing the crap out of them as POWs are rescued – soon takes unexpected, extended detours into sci-fi territory with deep dives into very recognisably Aliens-esque levels and even – in the final stages – straight to Hell, in levels inspired by Doom and The Evil Dead series.
With entertainingly, hilariously – and sometimes disastrously – destructible terrain everywhere, and a rotating cast of characters with an insane, grin-inducing level of detail (and accuracy!) in their powers and weapon sets, Broforce is a constant source of joy. Being able to tackle the whole campaign in co-operative multiplayer – despite the absolute chaos this brings – is a further sweetener on an already very sweet offering indeed.
The only real criticism I have is that Bro selection – aside from those found in a handful of special missions, where there’s a specific Bro available to complete the level – is totally random, and some Bros just aren’t equipped for certain situations.
That, and the fact that there’s no seemingly no sequel on the cards. Then again, every corner of Broforce is so lovingly crafted with genuine affection for the huge roster of characters – and it’s hard to see where they could go with a sequel that would justify its existence. Various media have been stripped bare of icons in order to provide the characters here, leaving little doubt that a new cast of characters could only disappoint. As it is, the idea is stretched here – with a few inclusions that’ll leave you scratching your head as to their relevance (Raiden from Mortal Kombat? Planet Terror’s Cherry Darling?). Then again, it’s easy to see that each included character will be a nostalgic blast from the past for someone out there – though many are far more obviously and universally iconic than others.
I can’t believe I’ve come this far without mentioning it, but there’s a rich vein of humour shot through the entire game – and the OTT violence is absolutely hilarious.
What’s weird is that Broforce is still one of those games that’s easy to miss; it doesn’t look like anything special at first glance, but it’s absolutely glorious once you get stuck in.
It’s also a game that’s absolutely worth playing through to completion – it goes completely bonkers at the end, or at least a lot more bonkers than it already has by that point. As previously mentioned, levels go from Rambo/Predator style jungle shootouts – that you expect to last for the entirety of the game – to extended tributes to Aliens, Doom and Evil Dead.
There’s even a hidden ‘bad’ ending that I accidentally happened upon. It’s just as hilariously cheeky as the rest of the game.
So maybe you’ve dismissed Broforce. Maybe all you saw was a pixel art run and gunner. It’s been out for a quite some time now, so you’d be forgiven if it happens to have flown under your radar.
However, you’d be doing yourself a huge favour if you gave it a shot, especially if – like me – you grew up watching worn VHS tapes of 18-rated action movies at a way younger age than the BBFC technically ‘allowed’. It’s an absolutely incredible – and very heartfelt – love letter to movies, comic books and video games that I can’t recommend enough.
- Great pixel art graphics with lots of character
- Hilariously OTT voiceover
- A ton of content – plenty of levels and Bros to unlock
- Multiplayer co-op
- User-created levels keep the fun going even after completing the main levels
- No Bro selection; it’s totally random
- Some Bros aren’t suitable for certain levels
- No sequel? Noooooooooo!
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