So keeping with tradition, I will be following the same format as I previously did for previous reviews. To keep things familiar, so to speak.
What is Brigador?
Brigador is an Sci-fi, roguelike, mech action shooter Indie game that was developed by Stellar Jockeys. As is the tradition of roguelikes, Brigador has an isometric view that reminds me of the early 2000s as games started to make their transition from 2d to 3d graphics. While the game is fun, I find lacking in a few areas that could really bring the game together. So let's just jump right into it, shall we?
Mechanically, Brigador is solid, which is to be expected from any game in early access. As you load into the game you are given several options from a minimalist menu allowing you to start the tutorial or jump right into the action. This is fairly normal as far as roguelike games go, there usually isn't much to them up front. Once inside the tutorial itself, the game lends you a helping hand with the basic and advanced tactics and controls to the game. Because of its minimalistic nature, the tutorials are very concise and too the point allowing a player to jump right in and pick up with almost no learning curve.
Upon starting a new contract, which is Brigador's way of saying new game, you are given several options of vehicles and armaments to choose from, or you can simply randomize everything and test your luck. The levels themselves all seem to be randomly generated to some degree, there seems to be a core part of the map, but the enemies and modular buildings are randomly placed. The only map that did not seem modular was the Spaceport, which is your objective for each contract, but it was rather difficult to tell as I typically would get overrun at this point. You can complete this objective in more than one way. In the top right hand corner of your screen you will see three things, an objective for overall kills, one for killing all the captains on the map, and one for killing all the orbital guns on the map, which then opens the exit allowing you to progress to a new map.
I also learned other things about the mechanics as I continued to play that were not really clearly stated anywhere. For example, your mech, or tank if you so choose, does not heal/repair at all between maps. You are also stuck with the vehicle you chose until you win, or in my case, lose. Now, these mechanics not being clearly stated upfront isn't a bad thing. It allows for a learning curve, which is healthy for any game so that players don't lose interest when they feel they have accomplished all there is.
More simply put, the game is easy to get into and fun to play. So...
For me, the game has several glaring issues that, being in an alpha state means that the issues can easily be resolved, but make it difficult to justify the price tag. To start with, there is no story. None. I have no clue what the plot is to the game. No clue why we are ransacking this town, why the objective is to take out these orbital cannons. Nothing. It's not there.
Graphically, there are several things missing. Brigador seems to be made with in Unity, a game development kit often used by Indie developers for its low budget cost and simplicity to other game engines such as Unreal. But the maps are simply placed in oblivion, floating in space with no ambiance of any kind. On top of this, the game is extremely dark. Your vehicle's model has headlights, as if the game is being played at night time, at all times. There is no way that I could find to increase the brightness either. So after a couple hours of straining my eyes trying to see what's going on, I have walked away from my computer with a splitting headache originating from my eyes. Had I been able to increase the brightness manually in game, I believe that I could have avoided this personal discomfort. Now, It almost feels like the developers were going for a fog of war type mechanic that is most common in moba and rts games such as StarCraft and League of Legends. After all, being in a tank, I get the feeling this is supposed to be some sort of war game.
Then we come to my final issue, not being able to rebind the keys to something more comfortable for me. Again, being in an alpha state, this is rather minor, but still off putting. Since the controls are set up in the wasd standard key bindings, which I will never understand why, our fingers just do not sit in this position naturally, combined with the also fairly standard driving mechanisms common to mech and tank style games, it was very difficult for me to control the game. Luckily for me, Brigador makes up for this issue with having several different types of vehicles and I found several that I enjoined using, although I have at this point tried them all.
My Final Thoughts!
All in all, while being a fun game, Brigador is obviously not finished. Again, this isn't a bad thing, a game stating it is in alpha stage still, it's to be expected there are some unfinished aspects to the game. But the game reminds me of something I would play for free, ten years ago. Because of this, I just simply can't justify the cost, but I do believe there is a diamond in this ruft. So if you are a hardcore mech, roguelike, action shooter game enthusiast, by all means jump in and help support this game, who knows where the future lies for Brigador. But if you are not planning on sinking 10+ game hours into Brigador (assuming the standard length of a fully developed game today) and just looking for something to pass the time, I do not believe this game will be for you.
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So until next time, stay calm, and Llama on!