Who doesn’t love beating up on their friends every once in a while? And hasn’t everyone always wanted to be a baseball star? Maybe a rockstar is more your taste? Or hey, maybe even both! Using a guitar to smack baseballs into left field; what could be better?!
Enter Brawl Busters, a beat-em-up MMO action shooter Team Fortress 2-type mash-up. Not only can you live the dream of being a baseball star, rockstar, football pro, boxer, or firefighter, but you can fight every other person out there to become the best around. You’ll perform devastating slams, stunning hits, paralyzing guitar riffs, and more! Oh yea, and get ready for all the breast physics you can shake a stick at (hopefully not your stick). So join me on a journey to discover just what Brawl Busters is all about.
Brawl Busters is a pretty straightforward game. You’ll have an arsenal of five-different classes including the Rocker, Firefighter, Boxer, Slugger, and Blitzer. While picking a character you’ll be able to customize their basic features from different body types, face types, and head types. You can also buy different weapons, tops, bottoms, glasses, and mouth pieces for your character.
Each character has different attack options which are bound to the mouse. Left click is the primary attack, right click is the secondary, and clicking both at the same time will unleash a class’s special attack. Each class has its own situation specialty as well. Boxers are good for fast-paced up close action while the firefighters are good for long range and defensive maneuvers.
Luckily before you even start the multiplayer, Brawl Busters throws you into a bunch of single player tutorial missions where you’ll have a chance to try out each class. It’s a great way to decide what play style you’re into and a great way to get acquainted with the controls. After these tutorials are completed, single player is a thing of the past. Now you’ll be fighting against the world in some multiplayer madness. But the multiplayer has a few problems:
- The rookie channels are empty. There are five different channels including Rookie US, Advanced US, Open US, Open SA, and Open EU. The problem is that both Rookie US channels meant for players levels 1 to 5, and both Advance US channels meant for players 6 to 25 are entirely empty. Not a single game is running on any of those channels. This means new players will instantly be thrown into the Open channels to be paired alongside mostly high level characters.
- You can only have up to eight people playing in one game. I’m sorry, but a 4v4 fight to nine kills isn’t exactly a team deathmatch. With other team based games like Team Fortress 2 having support up to 32 slots per server, it astonishes me that you can't even have up to 16 players in one game in Brawl Busters.
Besides single player, Brawl Busters also features team deathmatch, free for all, zombie survival, glow rush, and boss battle. Team deathmatch, boss mode, and free for all are fairly self-explanatory. Zombie survival is a wave mode where players will team up to fight off waves of zombies. There are also different difficulty levels including Easy, Medium, and Hard. Each wave becomes increasingly more difficult than the last, and the harder modes should only be played by higher level characters.
Glow rush is a different take on team deathmatch. You’ll still be fighting in a 4v4 battle royale, but each player will carry a set number of “Glow” depending on how many people are playing. The goal is to collect at least 43 Glow. If two people are playing, each starts with 24 Glow. If four people are playing, each will have 12 Glow, and so on. You earn Glow by killing enemy players and lose Glow when you are killed.
Let’s take a look back at gear for a second before continuing on. When purchasing gear, the actual gear itself will have no bonuses. Lucky for you, upgrades are just around the corner; however, the upgrade system is an outright joke. In fact, there’s no guarantee your items will receive an upgrade at all! The item upgrade has a 1 in 4 chance of being successful. Unsuccessful upgrades will result in an item being unchanged, an item losing an upgrade level, or an item being destroyed completely. The only way to avoid this is by shelling out real cash for Rock Tokens. The upgrading system is by far the stupidest I’ve ever seen in any MMO.
A more recent addition is Daily Missions. Daily Missions include five tasks the player can try to complete to grab bonus items. Tasks can include killing zombies, playing five official matches, winning three matches, and so on. It’s a nice incentive to keep players coming back, but it wasn’t enough to keep me coming back.
With a small selection of character classes, limited attacks, limited players allowed in one game, and empty beginner channels, Brawl Busters isn’t the most organized game. The developers clearly went for a unique style of gameplay, but failed to deliver enough to keep in interesting. Brawl Busters gripped me, enticed me, and pulled me in at first, but it never really convinced me to keep coming back for more.
Before I get into the core graphics of Brawl Busters let’s have a quick talk about breast physics. Rock Hippo, when a girl is standing in place, her breasts do not bounce around in circles. When a girl puts on a shirt, her breasts do not bounce around like crazy. It’s like Team Ninja was hired to do model design. I know sex appeal is a big marketing strategy today, but please tone it down.
Brawl Buster’s graphics are closest to Team Fortress 2’s graphics. Well, at least the cartoony style is similar. Think of Brawl Busters as a gang fight breaking out in the middle of Toon Town. Now you have Brawl Busters in a nutshell. If you ever decide to take a break from killing zombies and actually run around the maps you’ll find dancing mail boxes, dancing chairs, and more. It’s a miracle that none of them broke into song. The sheer amount of craziness happening on screen is enough to cause sensory overload and everything seems extremely cluttered.
The game itself is well designed, the UI is easy to use, menus are easy to navigate, but it’s hard to take the game seriously with dancing mailboxes and boobs flying all over the place. Brawl Busters is too cluttered for its own good and needs a tpning down. Maybe they should try using that upgrade system on their graphics.
Brawl Busters is a unique MMO title. Like I said, it can’t be classified into a single genre. At its core Brawl Busters is a class based combat game, but the fact it isn’t a shooter is what makes it unique. I don’t know of too many close combat class warfare games. It's a bit like a MOBA, but it's also missing the mechanics that make those games known and loved. It's trying to be a lot of things, but not really succeeding at any.
And even if I don’t like it, the upgrading system is rather unique. I only know Maplestory to have a similar “chance” system while upgrading items. The other fact that different items have no real stats on them at all is something new. It’s an interesting concept that really helps promote individuality in Brawl Busters. Players can dress as they want without feeling the consequences of lower stats.
Brawl Busters is really just a class warfare game without guns. But I have to give it some credit there. Because it doesn’t include guns it really helps contribute to that casual gamer feel. Most casual gamers I know want to stay away from more violent games, and without blood, guns, or any real life comparisons, Brawl Busters really tailors to these players. It’s the first MMO fighter for casual gamers (that’s not browser based)... is that a genre?
For the most part, Brawl Busters is very polished. There are an adequate number of tutorials to help new players get started, there are very little bugs, and for the most part Customer Support is very fast. I had no problems playing Brawl Busters, so I decided to take a walk through the Bug Forums to get an idea of any problems. It looked like most bugs are only involved with starting the game and I certainly didn’t encounter any in-game bugs while I was playing.
It seems that Rock Hippo is slowly taking small problems into account with every update and slowly revising aspects that need to be polished (like the class balance). Hopefully we’ll see more small updates in the future, but for now Brawl Busters is easy to learn and easy to play thanks to some of the little things we may take for granted.
As stated before, there’s nothing in Brawl Busters that makes you want to come back for more. It’s just kind of there. The Brawl Busters icon will sit there for a while unclicked, then you’ll want to play a quick 15 or 30 minutes, and then you’ll be done again for a while. It’s a nice game if you don’t have a lot of time to play MMO’s. Matches are fairly short meaning you can finish a full game in 5 to 15 minutes.
It all really comes down to what you want to play and how hardcore of a gamer you are. I think casual gamers will keep coming back to Brawl Busters because of its short matches, easy controls, and easy learning curve. Hardcore gamers will probably want to stick to their Team Fortress 2. And personally playing over 500 hours of Team Fortress 2, I definitely felt there was no reason I should be playing Brawl Busters instead of Team Fortress 2. Brawl Busters is simply Team Fortress 2 for casual gamers.
With no skills, no real reason to buy new items, and a foolish upgrade system there isn’t much that entices players to keep playing. I know Brawl Busters will continue to sit on my Desktop and I’ll start it every once in a while, but is It something I’ll be playing religiously every day? No.
The social aspect of Brawl Busters is almost non-existent. It gets a few points in this category since matches are always available to play in, but it lacks a basic community. The forums are practically dead and most topics don’t even have a single reply. To get an extended look at the in-game community I decided to join the Open US channel, sit, and wait. After a full 30 minutes of watching only two people ever spoke. One said two things in a different language and the other a simple, “I’m bored.”
Brawl Busters recently implemented a “Crew” system similar to a guild system. Players can join and create clans which are then ranked based on their amount of Crew Points. But even this Crew system lacks community. The top Crew called “FEAR” currently has 20 members and has been around for almost a month and a half. Crews can compete in tournaments to win special prizes, but it’s nothing exciting. And with teams gaining less than one member per day, I’d say the Crew system was a huge failure trying to get the community more involved.
Brawl Busters is a free-to-play game and is generally very fair about prices. Almost everything can be bought with Buster Points (BP) earned in-game. Players can also spend money on Rock Tokens (RT) to buy other items. Anything that can be bought with RT is very cheap and $9.99 should keep anyone happy for a while. The only problem I had was the amount of RT you could buy at one time. RT can be bought in $10, $20, $47, or $89 packs. The omission of a $5 pack is disappointing to me and the only payment option is Paypal. Hopefully other payment methods will be added shortly.
Brawl Busters is an online fighting game for the casual gamer. Even with a unique approach to gameplay, it fails to deliver a hardcore fighting experience. Brawl Busters simply doesn’t have enough depth to keep players coming back either. If my friends really ever asked for a recommendation I would tell them to check out Team Fortress 2 first. And with an absolutely dead community, Brawl Busters isn’t the MMO experience most people here will be looking for. It’s lacking in a lot of places, but overall I’d classify Brawl Busters as average: It’s great for a certain player base, but not for everyone.