May 2, 2014
The first thing that will most likely strike you about Brandnew Boy (apart from its odd title) is that it looks great. Brandnew Boy is built using the Unreal engine and even though I reviewed the game on a Nexus 4, it still managed to pack a graphical punch. The game itself revolves around you playing as a young man (or if you’d prefer, a young woman) who’s got a bad case of amnesia.
What they (you) can remember though is how to kick and punch. This is handy as each level you complete is full of bizarre creatures, ranging from odd-looking ‘egg men’ to what can only be described as a demon with an umbrella.
The game as a whole has a great visual appeal to it and everything’s been designed to look extremely unique. It does come across as a case of style over substance though as the story is pretty cliche and the combat is nothing too special.
Combat boils down to tapping the screen to initiate a combo attack. To keep the combo going you need to keep watch of an attack gauge. You need to time your following taps so that the gauge is in a yellow zone, otherwise your hits will fail. This means that more often than not you’ll be too busy staring at a moving bar than taking in all of the great visuals and animations going on in front of you. To make this worse, enemies will sign-post their attacks, but again, as you’re too busy looking at the bar, you’ll often miss these queues. In the game’s defence, this is less of an issue when playing on a larger screen.
Another factor that makes the game tricky is that the developers have made it that way. The game quickly ramps up its difficulty leaving you with two options. Pay to improve your character or grind away on the same levels to unlock experience that way. It’s a tried and tested method of making ‘free’ games profitable, so why this spike is inside of this ‘premium’ (i.e. you have to pay for it) title, I have no idea.
As you could probably guess, you get to spend your experience points on improving your character’s stats. More health, stronger attacks and special moves are all available for those that invest the time. Special moves are extremely useful, especially ones that break through your enemies’ defences or can clear a large group in one go. Also adding to the depth of combat is the ability to summon any defeated bosses. These summons don’t act any differently than the previously mentioned ‘special moves’, but it’s still pretty cool to see the tiger you defeated earlier on now being on your side.
In summary, Brandnew Boy oozes style and looks pretty stunning. The combat’s not the most interesting, but there’s such a wealth of content on offer here and it’s all presented so well that you’ll likely be driven on to see what areas, enemies and moves unlock next. Well worth your time if you don’t mind a bit of a grind.