Local multiplayer played a huge part in igniting my interest for gaming. Much of my childhood was spent squabbling with my older sibling over whose turn it was on the PlayStation, often resulting in needless fighting. The compromise was split screen games where we could both be happy, and we could still enjoy some healthy competition.
Despite there being a decrease on the whole in local multiplayer in the last few years, recently there’s been somewhat of as resurgence on the latest generation consoles. Enter In Space We Brawl; a game entirely dedicated to local multiplayer. Already sounds great? Sadly not, it somehow manages to completely miss the mark.
On paper In Space We Brawl sounds like the perfect match for local multiplayer. Up to four of you can take control of armed spaceships and fight to the death in deep space arenas, all filled with deadly hazards from wayward asteroids to unfriendly aliens.
There’s plenty of customisation too. With 11 different ships and 11 different weapon sets to choose from, you can expect to see a lot of combinations in battle. Each environment poses a distinct threat. Where as some are made hazardous by powerful solar winds another arena may be at the helm of a black hole. In Space We Brawl certainly is an interesting prospect, but a very dull one in reality.
Local multiplayer needs to be tense, where one mistake against your friend beside you will most probably lead to defeat, and ultimately a lot of shouting and bragging. Here, with In Space We Brawl you can get away with too many mistakes. The spaceships, for instance, have far too much health for my liking to make the game feel exciting. You can make a number of skillful shots only for them to hardly make a dent in your opponents craft. What’s even more frustrating is that even after you’ve whittled your opponents health down a random asteroid can fly in and steal your kill.
The weapon and craft combinations don’t feel fleshed out either. One craft is extremely overpowered in terms of its strength, which makes choosing another craft utterly pointless. There’s also a singular weapon set up that stands out from the rest, again meaning that choosing another set up will leave you feeling very vulnerable in battle.
In Space We Brawl pales in comparison to other local multiplayer experiences on offer at the moment. For example, Towerfall Ascension does a fantastic job in creating a tense quick fire match. The developers, Forge Reply, could take a leaf out of its book by in a way duplicating its one shot kill and limited ammunition gameplay. You’ll even find more enjoyment with games such as Sportsfriends and Trials Fusion.
Overall, In Space We Brawl is extremely disappointing, and is a perfect example of how not to make a local multiplayer game. You’ll feel deflated and bored after even a short half an hour multiplayer session. For those expecting exciting duels between four friends you’ll be left with a slow, clunky and dull experience that leaves everyone quickly asking to play Towerfall Ascension again.