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Preview: Broforce - undiluted testosterone addiction

The locally developed games just keep on coming. Cape Town-based Free Lives have just released their side-scrolling shooter, Broforce on Steam Early Access. If you believe in democracy you better go get it, bro!


Broforce, is a side-scrolling shooter heavily inspired by the Konami classic Contra, with a bit of Neo Geo's Metal Slug and some Team 17's Worms thrown in there for good measure. Developer by Free Lives, an Cape Town-based indie studio the game is a love letter to the 80s and 90s action movies written in undiluted testosterone on paper made from pure awesome. If that sentence sound like a whole lot of ridiculous, that's because it is, but in the best way possible.

The Contra-inspired gameplay is easy to get to grips and immediately accessible, but it's only a part of what makes Broforce such an enjoyable experience. It's one of those rare games that's built on an incredibly simple foundation - in this case shoot everything - that some how manages to still have a depth and complexity of gameplay that is highly addictive.


Each level of the game starts with players in control of a random Bro, each Bro being a pixelated caricature of an iconic classic action movie star, with the singular mission of wrecking some terrorists day, rescuing your fellow Bros, and flying into the sunset on a helicopter. 

It's literally that straight forward, but it doesn't mean the game isn't without some depth. Each Bro isn't just a skin swap, they each have their own unique weapon and special weapon to use in the fight for freedom. Every time you rescue a Bro in combat, you switch to that Bro, which can make things awkward as you might go from a machine gun wielding Rambro to melee character like Brade. It adds a nice layer of the unexpected to an otherwise straightforward game. It's also to your benefit to rescue your fellow Bro's as they'll add to you life counter.

While the switch up after a rescue can be mildly disorienting it shouldn't prove to be too problematic. Each Bro is seriously overpowered and for the first few levels you'll be cleaning clocks like a fifth generation Swiss clock-maker. It recalls the fun of inputting a God Mode code in some older games and then just laying waste to your enemies. You'll be running through levels and clearing them in under minute.

At least in the beginning. While you may think you have a God Mode code in play, Broforce sticks to its Contra roots, which means it's one hit one kill. As you progress further into the game, you'll be saying: "Oh Fok!" with increasing regularity as unexpected debris from explosions or stray bullets start making life difficult.


The gameplay may be clearly rooted in Contra and Metal Slug, but the level design is straight up Worms. Levels are all totally destructible, so a well placed dynamite can really make for some troublesome moments, especially  when the ground unexpectedly disappears from under your feet. But it does make for some inventive and chaotic combat, especially when you add three more players to the mix. Yep, as much fun as Broforce is, it's ten times as much fun with friends. 

It's difficult to decide whether the awesomeness of Broforce comes from it's simple, yet addictive gameplay, or its on the nose satire of the 80s and 90s action movie and super-patriotism. Most likely its a combination of all those things. Whatever the case, even it this incomplete phase, Broforce is a shaping up to be a a real quality piece of work. If nothing else, it is certainly the best, local co-op experience available. If you play this with friends and you don't bleat out at least one 'Whoop' or give up one hi-5, then you hate freedom and democracy.

And it's like the trailer says, it's not many games that give you the opportunity to "punch terrorism in the genitals".

Go grab Broforce on Steam Early Access here.

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