I've been holding off on writing about Brawl Stars for months now because it seemed to be a game stuck in soft-launch limbo for well over a year. I've had early access to it here in Canada, but its pre-release status with little to no updates from Supercell has meant it's likely been off most gamers' radars since it was first announced back at E3 2017. We now finally have a worldwide release date set for December 12, and the Brawl Stars community is buzzing.
Over 5 million players have already pre-registered to get the game on December 12. I'm hugely excited to see this game finally released for the world to play, and here's why you should get hyped.
Why you should get excited about Brawl Stars
For those who haven't heard much about it, Brawl Stars is the latest game from Supercell, the team behind some of the most popular mobile games of all time including Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Boom Beach. It's a fast-paced multiplayer game that will have you battling in both solo and team-based matches where your goal is typically to blow up your opponent and/or steal gems. There's a roster of 21 heroes to unlock and upgrade, each with their own unique attacks and super attacks which are earned by landing hits on enemies with your standard attack. Brawl Stars features many of the same graphics styles you've seen from other Supercell games along with the similar crate system for upgrading your heroes, but it's the actual gameplay that has me hooked on Brawl Stars.
Supercell has earned a reputation for creating incredibly addictive games, but unlike other game development companies that find one genre or format and milk it for all it's worth each new game, the Finnish-based developers have done a good job over the past few years borrowing some familiar elements from past games while still bringing something entirely new to the table with each release. With Brawl Stars, the player is given full control over their hero in short 2-3 minute battles that are perfectly paced for fast and frantic gaming sessions.
There's a variety of game modes and maps that rotate through on a daily basis. The main game modes that are always available are Gem Grab, a 3v3 mode that has two teams battling to collect and hold 10 gems that spawn in the center of the arena, and Showdown, a battle royale mode that's similar to Fortnite in that your hero is dropped into the map solo or with a partner with the last man or team standing declared the winner. The other two game modes slots rotate through some other other game modes (Heist is a 3v3 match that tasks each team with destroying the other side's gem vault, Bounty is another team-based mode that's all about collecting stars through kill streaks and staying alive, and Brawl Ball which mixes the base combat with a first-to-two-goals soccer match), with special weekend events that require tickets to enter that rotates between Boss Battle (one player plays as a super-sized boss hero, while five other players work together to defeat the boss as fast as possible) and Robo Rumble (a team of three heroes tries to outlast wave after wave of robot enemies).
Supercell has also introduced modifiers for each mode that include Meteor Shower in which has you looking out for falling rocks that cause devastating damage to anything it hits, and another mode that randomly drops a power-up that supercharges the hero who picks it up for a short period of time. These modifiers are a really nice touch and help to diversify the experience. Maps also feature destructible elements that include barriers and tall grass that provides cover for players. Typically, using a super attack will blast through any rock or fence and clear out tall grass which regenerates as the game progresses.
Of the 21 Brawl Stars heroes available to unlock and play in the game each has unique character traits and abilities that give them very specific advantages and disadvantages on the battlefield. You've got tank characters such as Bull, Frank, and El Primo that are able to absorb a ton of damage but are only effective with short-range attacks. Then you've got smaller, faster characters like Crow and Piper who feature rather devastating attacks but lower HP levels. And then there are characters like Nita, Jessie, Penny, and Pam who are able to summon a support unit with their special attack that adds an extra layer of strategy to each match.
Even though each hero can be upgraded with maxed-out stats, there's still very much an element of skill and strategy required to win.
Features that would be nice to add in the full release
I'm just going to step up on the soapbox here briefly and mention some ideas that I'd like to see ironed out before the worldwide release:
- Add a map editor for custom map creation — Over the past few months, Brawl Stars has started to introduce some community-created maps which are great. The problem is there's no instructions or guidance given for a community member interested in submitting a map of their own. Packaging a map editor into the game itself would fix this issue and allow for more community involvement in the creation of new maps.
- Give an option to add friends and create a game room after a match — Brawl Stars gives you the option of creating a game room where you can chat with your teammates and pre-select your heroes before jumping into battle. If you don't create a game room, you are always randomly paired with teammates. This is okay, as is the option to play again with the same players but it would be really helpful if there was a way to communicate with your teammates after a round without having to leave the match, add them as friends, hope they accept your add, then create a game room. A quick tweak here might make it easier to meet and better strategize with other players who play well together.
- An arcade mode where all heroes are available — This one is admittedly a pipe dream. Each player starts out playing the game with a very limited roster of brawlers, and you unlock more as you progress through the game collecting trophies and unlocking Brawl Boxes, but it sure would be nice to have an arcade-style mode outside of the ranked battles where you can simply test out different heroes before you potentially spend real money towards unlocking them. Of course, this would go against the entire business model behind the game, but it would be greatly appreciated especially for newer players who will have a long journey ahead of them.
Are you pre-registered yet?
Head on over to the Google Play store to be notified as soon as Brawl Stars is available for download.
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