After a hard day at work there is nothing better than a good bar fight, or so I am told. Titanite Games have decided to make that a reality for all with their latest release Bandit Brawler. Obviously, there are a few drawbacks, you have to rob and pillage a lot to be a true bandit, so that’s officially now your day job. Time to see if I know the difference between a Haymaker and a Bolo punch in a few fights. Best get my sparkly dressing gown ready and some decent intro music, it’s off I go to beat up some people. (please be aware that Thumb Culture does not affiliate itself with actual fights in real bars/clubs/supermarkets/petrol stations)
Swing and a Miss or a Knockout Blow?
I wonder if this game will take me back to my youth when I used to go out clubbing a lot. Bring it on and don’t take it easy guys, I am a pro at this.
Like most first person adventure games, Bandit Brawler starts with a simple set of instructions to follow to get you used to the controls. So what is there to do? Steal things from people? Beat people up? Do quests for people? Well, yes, all of the aforementioned activities and a couple of mini games were thrown in for good measure. I guess the big question to ask is does Bandit Brawler really bring anything new to the genre? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad game though. Does it? The gameplay is good, the movement around the world is good, the story is actually engaging and the fun element is most definitely there. So all positive then? Unfortunately not as it seems that Bandit Brawler has been released before it is ready. So what are some of the issues?
Well, the biggest issue I have at the moment is that I can not actually play the game. Though after this review I wonder if that really is an issue. Steam is currently validating, patching and stopping in an eternal loop. About 1% advancement every 15 minutes means that I am likely to finish the review before I even get the chance to play it. Patching a game less than a week after release is not a sign of thorough testing. Sadly the patch never got beyond 53% but after an uninstall and a reinstall, I got it working. It does crash out a lot though making my job very hard.
Saving the game. There is no option to save the game, you have to guess when the last checkpoint was and that’s when it was last saved. There is no visual clue that the game has been saved. At a minimum, there should be a last saved time against a checkpoint when looking to quit.
The number of items that you can carry is crazy. I was considering renaming the game Unrealistic Hernia Simulator. To carry all those plates, mugs, books and other paraphernalia and still move is a miracle within itself. One of the main aspects is stealing, so why not make it a little more realistic?
Thrill Of The Fight
I am yet to find a foe strong enough to make me eke out an iota of sweat in full-on bloodied combat. When I was at my weakest, an unarmed brawler, I failed to come even close to being health depleted. The combat for unarmed is simply hit, kick or block, there is no initiative, and no real thought has to go into it. I managed to win a fight against a gang of three whilst also completing my son’s quantum mechanics homework and quaffing on a tankard of mead.
The whole game seems like a massive walkthrough. Go here, do this, and whilst other games are very similar, most add a level of difficulty at some point. Bandit Brawler has gone for the more fun approach with some dark humour, some slapstick humour and some absurd humour thrown in for fun.
Every time that you enter or leave a building you will see this screen. Yes, you will see this screen a lot, but that’s a good thing though as then there is no excuse for not knowing the commands. I am yet to work out if it’s part of the humour that the letter U, probably for Urinate has been used. I say part of the humour as it has been labelled ‘Pee’. The letter P is still available, the word and the letter are literally interchangeable. It hurts my brain. Middle finger is N? I’m sure anyone reading this can spot a better letter to use that is still available.
Don’t go into the water. That’s not because it’s shark-infested or full of piranhas, it’s because you cannot swim. I ran into the water and by the time I read the warning I was dead and looking at the familiar loading screen.
Stamina isn’t a thing, running everywhere whilst running errands of menial importance, saves so much time. So many of the basics for this type of game are simply missing. Hopefully, these things will be added at a later date, but that might be a little too late to save Bandit Brawler from the rubbish dump.
After a long arduous day in the office, it’s a good way to let off some steam. Throw some exploding animals around and beat the living daylights out of people. If you want to you can even pee on children until they vomit on your shoes. Feel better? Good.
The mini-games are fun, well the dice one is, getting drunk is frustratingly hard, but maybe getting drunk and playing would actually enhance the whole playing experience. Maybe I should stick to the beating game, I never thought I would have to test my typing speed in a game of this nature, but here I am with a few unexpected surprises. They picked on the wrong man though, gonna smack them all up.
As I can no longer play Bandit Brawler it will be hard to really give a full review when I would be able to get weapons and horses as shown in the video for the trailer. This may actually put more favourable elements on the map and raise the score. However, as the game is so fundamentally not finished, I guess I shouldn’t really worry about this minor detail.
Graphics & Audio
Bandit Brawler has passable graphics, everything looks like it should do and that’s an improvement on some games I have played. The physics does sometimes go a little awry, but I think that is an issue in most games, so I shall not judge too harshly. With the layout of the maps and the placement and look of the buildings, I actually found my way around quite easily without needing the map constantly, something that I am usually pretty bad at, so that’s another tick to chalk up. I do question why the need to show a speedy swipe at anything being picked up with suitable sound effects, it did seem a little over the top and just became a regular eye-rolling moment for me.
The general theme is very thematic and fits the bill perfectly, definitely landing this punch. The sound effects were good, you knew what you were doing based on what you could hear. The inaudible noises when breaking into a conversation with someone were terrible though, as was the large written graphic over their head for what they would say in the middle of a fight. As with the rest of the game, some improvements would be well received. The clip-clop from the magical horse is incessant though, even when you are not moving. It made me consider actually walking everywhere.
Bandit Brawler needs a lot of improvement before genuinely being considered a worthwhile game. It has stripped games within the genre to their basics, and then a little more. There is simply not enough really going on to hold the interest of a seasoned gamer, it just sits firmly in the ‘a bit of fun’ category. For me, there is no real appeal. It looked like my kind of game, but fell well short. Hopefully, improvements will be made to get the basics all in place and then maybe a game will develop.
Bandit Brawler has failed to bring its A game, or B game, or C game to the fight against other first-person RPGs. Fraught with issues and bugs and bad concepts and missing basics it comes across as a group of trainee developers decided to have a bit of a giggle and test a few things out. The game element is more a blend of frustration and disappointment than anything positive. The fact that I could walk away from a fight leading a cow on a rope and not take any damage is a damning insight into just how bad my experience has been. Now if you all don’t mind I am going to lock myself in a dark room with padded walls and think about what has just happened to me.
Bandit Brawler gets the Thumb Culture Bronze Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.