Brief Battles is a solid four-player party brawler from two-person Adelaide developer Juicy Cupcake that lands somewhere between Smash Bros, Worms and Bomberman. Its goal is to be a simple, fast, pick-up-and-play multiplayer experience and in this, it certainly succeeds.
Each battle consists of moving your character — chosen from an array of sentient underwear — around a simple platformer-style level and beating the hell out of your opponents with whatever items you can get your hands on. Every level features a certain amount of verticality that pairs with your character’s ability to climb. They can scurry up walls and hang from cielings to get a better vantage point or secure the drop on their foes.
“Brief” is the operative word, not only referring to the game’s many characters, but also to the length of each battle. Most fights are over in five minutes and you’re onto the next. In theory this makes it an ideal party title, the kind of thing that keeps people entertained in a social setting without tying them up too long. In this, it feels like it’s hitting the nail on the head — I played Brief Battles with three or four different groups and the lead time before tapping out was about three rounds, after which most people were ready to move onto something else.
Visually, it’s quite charming, and settles on a cute aesthetic which helps draw people in. It would have been easy for the team to go for something more vulgar, given it’s a game about fighting underpants. It also squeezes a lot of juice out weapon and attack effects. Indeed, when a battle heats up between four players, there can be quite a lot happening on the screen at once, enough that it occasionally affected readability and some of the people I played with lost track of where they were in the fray.
Brief Battles‘ most ideal play arrangement is a standard, four-person brawl but there are other modes on offer for those who aren’t looking for a fight. Co-operative challenges let you work together to secure a fun objective and there’s also solo play for those who just want to check it out on their own.
Ultimately, Brief Battles is a short, fun little experience. It doesn’t want much from you other than your attention for a short while. In return, it hopes to make you laugh while you playfully punch your friends. I can get down with that. Need something for your next party? Want to support local developers doing solid work? Consider it.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Simple; Fast; Pick up and play
Lowlights: May be a bit much going on for non-gamers
Developer: Juicy Cupcake
Publisher: Juicy Cupcake
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
Review conducted on Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.
Image Credit: Juicy Cupcake