Broforce - (Not a) Review

Broforce, available as a PlayStation Plus title on the PlayStation 4 this month, makes for a fun throwback run-and-gun shooter - when it's working, that is. By most accounts, the original game runs great on PC but the PS4 port of the title is frustratingly problematic. A second or two into the start of any level, there's an inexplicable control hiccup where the character just doesn't respond to any controller input for a half-second or so. Oftentimes, this is little more that an annoyance, but in later stages as enemies descend upon you right out the gate, this can cause almost instant death. Additionally, as the levels get more complex with added swarms of enemies and things that go boom, the graphical performance drops to near-unplayable frame rates.

All of this is quite the shame because when it's playable, it's enjoyable enough. A game where pretty much every character is a parody of an 80s or 90s action hero with a "Bro" in the name (Rambro, The Brominator, Bro in Black, Indiana Brones, etc.) isn't going to be for everyone. But I found the gameplay and testosterone-infused overcompensation a bit charming for the mindless experience it is; running through levels shooting bad guys and saving bros without getting shot or otherwise killed yourself. Starting out with just Rambro, new characters are unlocked as you save kidnapped bros and randomly assigned with each new life. Each character has three attacks, typically a ranged one (like a gun), a melee one (like a knife), and then the character-specific special with limited uses (Rambro has grenades, Bro in Black has the Neuralizer that stuns enemies, MacBrover throws out an explosive Turkey that lures enemies to it before exploding, etc.).

A lot of these character provide for a fun variety in play styles but each time you save another bro or lose a life, you are reassigned as a random bro from among the characters you've unlocked. Don't like playing as Bronan the Brobarian? Well you're stuck with him until you save another bro or die. Conversely, I sometimes found myself passing up on a bro/extra life because I was playing as Bro Dredd or Brochete, who really gelled for me.

Every level is comprised of a few stages where you slaughter your way through enemy forces avoiding death. As you progress through each area, you'll pass American flag and radio tower checkpoints that save you from having to backtrack all the way to the beginning of a stage when you are inevitable one-hit killed in the usual mayhem. Each stage culminates with a final little well-dressed demon to kill before your bro hops on a helicopter in an explosion-filled extraction and the final stage of each level culminated in a boss battle.

I didn't dive into it but the game also supports up to four-player multiplayer for those who really want to bro it up with their bros.

Broforce is available now on PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Linux. For more information, visit broforcegame.com.