Brawlhalla Closed Beta First Impressions

You know how every now and then, after you’ve browsed the glorious internet for some time, you stumble across something that makes you go “hmm… this actually looks very interesting”? For me it was this video of a guy who got a game from a random steam key sent to him by a friend of his. The game is called Brawlhalla and it’s a 2D platform brawler. Think Super Smash Bros. with different themed “Legends” instead of the usual Nintendo characters. Another thing it has different from Super Smash Bros., which immediately caught my interest, is the fact that it’s for PC.

I was always interested in a game like this and since I don’t own any Nintendo consoles this seemed like the perfect alternative. I applied for the closed beta, which by the way is free right now so go check it out on their official website, and as luck would have it a couple of days ago I received my access code via email. I’ve played it for a bit over 3 hours since then and I thought “why not share my first impression of it?”. Now, before I go on with my impressions of the game you need to keep in mind a couple of things. The build in which Brawlhalla is right now is a beta so they are still pretty much in the testing phase of the game. The other thing which you should keep in mind is that the server is based in Atlanta, GA, USA, so if you’re playing from outside of NA expect some lag. On to my first impressions.

Let’s start with the things that I like about it. First off, the gameplay I found very engaging. It’s fast paced battles between 2-4 players which involve much more than just button mashing. I really enjoyed the tactical side of it and the satisfaction you get when you pull off a combo which sends your opponent flying off the screen is enough to keep me playing. The combat itself feels very fluid with a lot of different light and heavy attacks. Diversity in the form of playable characters and maps is not that big, but it’s still enough to keep it interesting. You have 14 playable Legends and 9 maps to play on, along with 4 different game modes for single-player/local multi-player and two online modes. Each one of the Legends has two different weapons he can pick up while fighting, so every battle feels a bit different than the last. You will be able to unlock said Legends with gold earned in-game, but as of this closed beta all the Legends are unlocked for testing. Graphically speaking, the game is not demanding, which is a good thing if it hopes to attract as many people as possible, but this brings me to the things I liked less about it.

First things first, I should probably mention that most of the things I don’t like about it are because it’s still in beta. The graphical options are very minimal, so are the sound options and so on. You can rebind the keyboard controls but not the mouse ones, which is not that bad since you can fully play the game with only your keyboard, but still, that would be a nice addition. The AI is pretty good at fighting, but when it comes to other game modes (where the objective is to take a ball to a goal area, for example) they are rubbish at best. That’s why the game recommends players to play those game modes with other human players. The ranking system is an Elo rating system which is good for the current ranked mode that’s only 1v1, but a 4 player ranked mode would be nice and I’m not sure the Elo system would be appropriate. The last complaint I have about the game is the lag which makes it almost impossible to play well online.

Again, all these complaints could be resolved by the time the game launches. An EU server is underway according to the Steam Community page so that’s great news. I can’t wait for it to go live because all in all the game is fun even though at times it seems like it’s lacking content. If they manage to keep putting out content regularly and if they keep the planned free-to-play model with micro-transactions, I think Brawlhalla could grow into a very popular game because it has a lot of potential.

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