(Devolver Digital for Steam Early Access)
By Mike Delano
Rambo. Terminator. Die Hard. You love these bro-ed out movies because they stream testosterone directly into your willing eyeballs. Only problem is, when you dust off the ol’ VHS tapes and give these flicks another spin nowadays, you remember that these films had actual plots. Dialogue. Acting, for god’s sake. Yuck. It wasn’t just the 90 minutes of wall-to-wall, clip-emptying machine gun action that you had in your memory.
That’s where Broforce comes in. It boils down the aforementioned movies and many other manly classics into their most pure form: A 2D sidescrolling shoot-’em-up in the mold of the mighty Contra. Each level of Broforce starts you out guns blazing and, in the span of just a few minutes, you’ve gunned down a small army and are hanging from a helicopter while a triumphant guitar solo plays in the background. A metaphor for life, really.
But the charm of the game (currently available as an in-progress version available for purchase on Steam Early Access) isn’t just its premise and the titular cast of Stallone and Schwarzenegger look-alikes. It’s how you use these characters and their assorted weaponry to tear your own path through each level, surprising enemies from above or below, or creating chain reactions that blow them off a cliff or into a red, chunky mist. Like 2012’s Hotline Miami, though, the game knows how to balance both letting the player feel like an unstoppable wrecking ball and putting them in vulnerable situations where some planning and careful maneuvering is necessary to advance. That balance ensures Broforce is satisfying in both short and long play sessions, and since improvements are still being made until its official launch, it looks like when that day comes, the game will be a fantastic realization of its riotous, ‘roided-out concept.