Troublemaker Review: A Messy High School Jungle

Troublemaker is a brand-new entry focusing on high school brawls and students' lives. Developed by Gamecom Team, Troublemaker's combat and explorations are the biggest strength in this game, yet even those fail to deliver their purpose. In this review, we will look deeper into Troublemaker's aspects, from the fighting mechanics to its graphical elements.

Troublemaker Review A Messy High School Jungle

Troublemaker is a brand new entry from Gamecom Team. The game offers a fresh premise as it’s set in Indonesia where we play as Budi, an orphan that always gets into fights and brawls no matter where he goes. This Troublemaker review will delve deeper into its gameplay mechanics, story, and the game’s technical aspects. Let’s begin.

The game brings many things to the table, and for me, none of them manage to land on their target. The fights and brawls that are the main star of the game? The controls are clunky and slow and the animations are stiff. The story? It’s nothing remarkable, and I hear more profanity and swear words than I hear actual dialogue and interactions.

While it’s certainly great that it takes place in Indonesia, a setting that hasn’t been touched that much in the industry, Troublemaker feels too dependent on the local market, as the game’s charms and quips are solely dedicated to the Indonesian fanbase, rendering it slightly disconnected with a broader audience.

Troublemaker is available on Steam for $9.99.

Troublemaker | Gameplay Trailer 2023 | Freedom Games

Story: Budi’s Here to Fight

We are following the journey of the protagonist, Budi, a high school student who always fights with people around him, earning him the title of a one-man army. After the Pengacara Gang brawled with him and he had to deal with the police once again, Budi’s mother, Ratih, forced him to move to a new school, where a new journey awaits him.

To be honest, Troublemaker does not offer an extraordinary premise. Many games use high school and gang brawl settings. However, Troublemaker takes place in Indonesia, where we can see the country’s students’ culture, albeit slightly fictitious, as well as their school lives.

Still, Troublemaker‘s unique setting adds a fresh perspective to the familiar premise. The game offers a new experience for players by exploring the slightly twisted Indonesian school culture and societal issues.

Overall, I do not enjoy the story at all, even though I’m Indonesian. Before writing this review, I keep repeating many cutscenes in Troublemaker because I find it unbelievable, unimpressive, and disconnected. The character interactions are super stiff, and they use swear words more than actual dialogue.

Troublemaker Review A Messy High School Jungle The Pengacara Gang

The Pengacara Gang.

Gameplay: It’s Brawling Time!

Troublemaker offers many things for the players to try out in the game. Unfortunately, many of them miss the target. The fighting mechanics feel super clunky and slow, and the “free” exploration of the map is incredibly limited, since the game bars us from many places, and even the places we can traverse have almost no purpose.

Fight Mechanics

The star of Troublemaker is its fight sequences. Budi can utilize many things in his arsenal, ranging from his physical attacks to his Sick Moves, allowing us to get creative during combat.

During his daily and school lives, Budi must fight tons of people, and the developers manage to make Budi a self-sufficient character in terms of combat, though there are many drawbacks in this aspect.

For instance, during a fight, the controls are incredibly clunky and unresponsive, and that makes it harder for me to land some combos or even dodge the enemy. The enemies’ attacks are also obscure, as I don’t know their special moves or critical hits due to the stiff and bland fighting animations and the lack of fight effects.

As the star of the game, unfortunately, this part of Troublemaker has many issues that drag down its potential. Still, the combat can be fun and rewarding when I manage to strike a combo or unleash a Sick Move.

Troublemaker Review A Messy High School Jungle Sick Moves

Sick Moves.

Richard’s Shop

During our journey in Troublemaker, there’s an items dealer that tries too hard to be The Merchant (from Resident Evil 4) and cracks too many unfunny jokes and references, Richard. He’s one of Budi’s schoolmates and a key player in upgrading his skills. 

He has three categories in store: Items, Stats, and Sick Moves. The Items section allows us to purchase things that will help Budi during his fights, for example, Beras Kencur will refill 100% Health for 15,000 Rupiah, the in-game currency. Meanwhile, the Stats section allows us to upgrade Budi’s physical stats, such as his Maximum Health and Energy.

And lastly, the Sick Moves section allows us to purchase ultimate abilities for Budi; flashy moves that he will unleash after reaching the maximum Energy Points.

Overall, Richard’s Shop acts as the hub for all things necessary for Budi to survive his high school days. I find him to be unremarkable, he’s just a plot device and acts as the shopping hub in Troublemaker, but he does that job quite well.

Troublemaker Review A Messy High School Jungle Items in Richard's Shop

Items in Richard’s Shop.

Graphics and Sound: Off-Target

Now, let’s move on to the technical aspects of Troublemaker. From the graphical standpoint, Troublemaker doesn’t have state-of-the-art graphics, and they are very rough on the edges. The faces, animations, and body movements are all dull and unimpressive, though the environmental backdrops are relatively good.

Still, I have to give them some applause because this game is one of the great Indonesian-made games in terms of graphics. The 2D cutscenes are quite well-done, but the style blending during dialogues (2D Sprites + 3D environment) doesn’t match together.

Moving on to the sound design, the voice acting is terrible. They’re just reading off the scripts without putting much acting during their dialogues. However, there were some moments in the game where the dialogue hit the spot, but most of the time, they miss the target by a mile. Not to mention, 60% of the dialogues have no voice-overs, so it’s pretty hard to understand the character’s motives and personalities.

Overall, Troublemaker is not the sharpest tool in the shed in terms of technical aspects, however, Gamecom Team deserves some praise because the game is quite advanced and will thrust the Indonesian’s game development scene to a greater height.

Troublemaker is reviewed on PC with a review code provided by Stride PR.

Troublemaker is a new entry that depicts Indonesia's high school cultures and students' lives (although slightly altered). There are many things wrong in this game, such as the stiff fighting animations, plastic dialogues, and an overwhelming amount of profanity, as well as the terrible input registry. Still, if you're seeking for a fun and mindless high school adventure with a different setting, then you should give Troublemaker a go.
  • Although clunky, using combos during fights can be rewarding
  • The controls are better when using a controller
  • Fighting animations are bland and repetitive
  • Input registry during fights and explorations is a bit unresponsive and slow
  • Clunky fighting mechanics
  • Terrible dialogues and voice acting
  • Profanity is handed out like candies, even in the most basic interactions between characters

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