During a fight, players can use their ship’s energy to either boost their move speed or shield their ship. They’ll also want to try to use their special weapon strategically, but they can always fall back on their normal weapon for unlimited shooting. The gameplay is meant to be pretty fast-paced, as ships will constantly be drifting across the screen and looping to the other side (momentum will keep ships moving forward, even when the L stick isn’t being pressed). When the arena mode’s win condition has been met, the game will end and players will get to see how they scored.
To be completely honest, twin-stick shooters aren’t my favorite kind of game, but I have been known to greatly enjoy a few, like Geometry Wars. In Space We Brawl (ISWB) didn’t really do it for me, for a couple of reasons. First, the emphasis here is clearly not on co-op play. I felt like this game would clearly be best played as a local party game with four humans against each other. Whether you’re a casual twin-stick shooter player like me, or a serious twin-stick shooter fan (and there’s certainly a lot of depth in ISWB), the AI isn’t really going to cut it. The AI appears to be easily able to crush casual players (like me) despite the difficulty setting, but not because it plays like a pro. Likely, the AI would be destroyed by a good player (i.e. not me) because I often found that the AI would like to prioritize debris unless a ship was in their face. A couple of times a match dragged on because two bot ships were left in the fight, and they weren’t able to hit each other.
The second big reason that ISWB didn’t really pique my fancy was despite the large amount of variety in the game (e.g. ships, weapons, modes), the variety didn’t feel very impactful. While I could certainly tell a really fast ship from a really slow ship, it didn’t really impact the way I played. I didn’t really find I had a preference for any given ship or any given weapon, despite their differences. While the different map regions looked different, again, I didn’t really find I preferred or dispreferred any of them. Also, the different arena modes all basically felt the same: shoot and kill ships until the game ends, regardless of what the winning condition is. Now, as I pointed out, I’m pretty terrible at most of these kinds of games, but in other twin-stick shooters (that I’m also bad at), I can certainly appreciate the variety of playstyles encouraged with different kinds of ships and modes. I just didn’t see much difference in ISWB even with the large amount of options.
ISWB is certainly not a bad game. I like the graphical look of the game, and I like that the whole aesthetic of the game is having a silly good time. There’s just not a whole lot in the gameplay that sets it apart from other games of its type, and I would probably prefer to play several other brawlers or twin-stick shooters instead. If I were to play it again, I probably would never play it for co-op comp stomp, and would instead play it only as a multiplayer brawler.
This review was based on the PS4 version of the game provided by the developer
The Co-Op Experience: Comp stomp an AI team with a two-player team in a variety of arenas with a variety of ships and weapons.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.