There are two things I want to get out of the way before I start to talk about the game proper. Firstly, this game is not made for me. There are some design-decisions that seem baffling to me personally, but make total sense when looking at the game with some distance. I appreciate the game for what it is, but I am willing to bet that I would like this game more if they just changed some mechanics. Now, I am not saying that the way I see it is the "right" way, there are people out there who love the specific mechanics that I don't care for. And this game was made for them, not me. So take those critiques as they are, a matter of taste.
Secondly, this game is almost impossible to capture screenshots from. The game moves at a breakneck pace and has a "one-hit-kill" idea of deadliness, much like Hotline Miami. So, screenshots the screenshots are probably not going to communicate much. Fortunately the game provides an in-built function of creating .gifs of your game-play, unfortunately this function is spotty as best. So, if you want to get the "proper" experience of viewing the game, I would recommend going to YouTube and finding some game-play videos.
So, on to the game. Broforce is a side-scrolling action game made by Free Lives and published by Devolver Digital. It is a love-letter to '80-ties and '90-ties action movies. You play as on of many "bros", each one being a colorful recreation of an action-hero. You'll play with character like Rambro, RoboBro, Brade and Ellen Ripbro. Each bro comes with a unique weapon and special attack. Some bros are focused on ranged, like Snake Broskin and Bro Hard, who use guns to do the talking, other are melee focused like Brade and Mr. Anderbro, relying on weapons and fists to win the day. And here is where the first of my "personal dislikes" come in.
See, your bro can only take one shot, and the way you gain extra lives are by freeing prisoners. The problem here is whenever you die (or free a prisoner) your bro changes. In place of the bro you died with/rescued with will be a new bro chosen at random. This adds a certain chaotic fun to an already chaotic game, but the lack of choice in your bros means that you might get stuck in a VERY difficult situation without the proper tools.
For example: MacBrover is a great character, fun and deadly. He throws sticks of dynamite that travel in a short arc before landing, and a couple of second later explode. But there are moments in the game where a long-ranged character is needed, and going for a rescue to gain an extra life only to be stuck with MacBrover in those situations is an almost automatic forfeit. Now, the game does account for this by making the levels pretty big and non-linear, but the problem still stands, especially on boss-fights. Here, what I would have liked to see is you either get to pick which bro to send in. The compromise I would be happy with would be if the game picked three bros at random for you to choose.
While this might not be my favorite system, it does however fit the game. Chaos, chaos and more violent chaos is what this game wants to be all about, and the idea of not picking your bro adds to that chaos. You never know what you might get stuck with when you go to rescue a bro, and what you get might not be what you want, but you'll just have to adapt.
I guess I wouldn't have such a big problem with this if it wasn't for the "long" amount of time it take between retries. Now, long here is subjective and is counted in seconds. It's just that whenever you die, you get sent back to the nearest checkpoint, which completely kills all action and momentum. Even worse, when you run out of lives (which at the beginning of a level is always 1) the narrator has some words, then the screen fades, a 3 count starts and you're back. These interruptions are very short, they can indeed be counted in seconds, but the game moves so quickly that they still manage to feel jarring. Again, a compromise would be to take the reload-system from Super meat boy or Hotline Miami where you just slap the reload key and you're back in instantly.
One absolutely shining feature though, is the cast. You can unlock a total of 32 bros to play with. Each one a nicely created pixel-parody of some action hero. To this, they also made each bro function a little differently, creating a pretty nice roster of character with diverse quirks and abilities. B. A. Broracus wields a devastating short-range flame-thrower and incendiary grenades while Bro Dredd wields his trusted Lawgiver that ricochets and homes in on enemies, and in stead of grenades has a guided missile for pinpoint destruction. While the game is a simple matter to understand, learning the ins and outs of each bro will take some time to master.
To continue on the "love letter to action movies" idea, the games story and settings are basically a mish-mash of different action-movie plots and locations. You'll be battling through jungles and cities, taking down the evil dudes and their leader Satan. Yes, the objective of each level is to make it to the end and kill Satan, raise an American flag and escape by chopper while the level blows up. It's corny and full of cheese, and I love it.
The levels are for the most part pretty well designed. Most have multiple paths and feel quite non-linear, for a game that is all about going from A to Z and murdering the rest of the alphabet. Pretty much everything in the game is also destructible, so if you're not happy with the level, change it, or destroy it. Honestly, between the "red barrels", fuel tanks and the suicide bombers, not much of any given level is left at the end.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with Broforce. It's a fun, lighthearted romp through violence-ville. It's heavy on the action, and a bit too light on the strategy for my taste. Again, I can't hold that against the game itself, it's just the way I feel about it. According to the game, I'm 61% done with the main campaign and I've played for about 2½ hours. So it might be a bit on the short side. The does however have extra difficulty modes that unlock after campaign, for those interested.
And now for the short .gif display, to see how well the feature works.