Brawlout Early Access Review
No Tripping Required
I do have some concerns with balance. One character has a freeze move that is really easy to use and effectively infinite recovery, forcing enemies to come to him to edge guard, while another character’s recovery is based on proximity to the enemy, which means enemies can effectively edge guard against him by just running away. The developers have been updating the game fairly frequently since it went into Early Access but keep in mind that there is a lack of polish here. In terms of features, Brawlout is surprisingly robust for such an early Early Access game. While there is no dedicated single-player mode yet (outside of bot matches), there is a full replay mode that automatically catalogues recent matches, ranked and quickplay modes, and leaderboards for the ranked mode. Brawlout also lets you play offline matches while queued for online ones. This is a brilliant feature that I wish more games had, especially ones with low populations, as you do not have to stare at a search queue in lieu of actually playing the game. Speaking of populations, it is important to note that Brawlout currently is significantly lacking here. Finding games is really difficult, especially with the two queues splitting the playerbase, and if you play non-standard hours, this is a single-player game. While this is an issue that may get solved in time, it is also one that may worsen with time as well. In fact, player counts have been expectedly dropping since it was released into Early Access, and there is no telling if that will change upon the full release. The presentation of the game is not particularly impressive. Characters, while sporting unique designs, do not have a lot of detail to them, especially when it comes to their textures. This, combined with a lot of stiff animations, makes the characters feel almost like playdough characters, especially the ones with more meat on their bones. I will be frank: it is hard for me to recommend a multiplayer-focused Early Access game without reservations. It is hard to tell if the game will be embraced by a community, if updates will keep coming, and if you will have a reason to play this when it gets to a full release. Importantly, Brawlout does have a few problems in terms of presentation and how it feels that make predicting whether or not it will take off tough. Having said that, Brawlout does have a lot of promise to it, especially with regards to some of the changes it makes to the classic Smash Bros formula and for the support it already has for competitive play. If you are a fan of competitive Smash, this is at least one to watch.