Brief Battles (Switch) Review
Sometimes you just want to run around in your undies, or briefs if we want to be formal. Brief Battles will help you to live that dream. One pair is never enough, so why not make it your goal to collect them all!
There is no story to the world of Brief Battles, it just jumps right into some arenas and put on some fancy jocks. Sometimes there are enemy creatures who will kill you if you don’t dispense some undergarment violence on them.
The Brief Battles take place in a single screen arena, where its cute little brief-covered battlers face each other. You’ll have to butt stomp your way to victory or you’re going to have to find some super special undies to give you powers to take down your enemies. Fling fireballs, freeze your enemy in their tracks or give them a taste of your buns of steel, there’s a variety of different briefs to keep the fight interesting. Most of them work in interesting ways, the fireballs follow an arc so you have to think about where you throw them, the steel undies are dangerous to others but you have to physically hit them which is a risk. The poison attack attaches to a target but the poison bombs timers allow your opposition time to fight back, and freezing the enemy means you still need to go close for the kill.
The game is split up between the multiplayer-only battles and the solo/co-op challenges, fortunately meaning there’s something to do when people aren’t around. Multiplayer has a plain ol’ deathmatch, knockout, race to collect the most undies or hold onto the golden jocks. Hold onto the gold is a mode that can make things interesting when you’re holding onto the panties in question. When you hold it you can’t wall climb or hold onto ceilings for long, putting you at a disadvantage avoiding everyone else.
All the jumping around, wall and ceiling climbing is fun to get around, although anyone new to the game will be at a disadvantage that might put them off. Even after playing it for a while it felt like the generous wall climbing got in the way, I don’t want to cling to everything! Brief battles is not exactly a super serious game, so maybe the movement mechanics level the playing field so no one feels like they can quite be mastered.
As with most multiplayer party games like this, the same handful of modes can only last so long. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun to play, but they can wear out their welcome. Being tied only to couch multiplayer, you’re also very limited in when you can play if you don’t often have the numbers. It’s also ideal if you can get four people together. While it’s fine with two players going against each other, it loses some of the frantic feel to the game.
When you don’t have anyone around or want to co-op when it’s just two of you, the challenges are there to take on. There are a few different kinds of challenges, whether it’s beating a timer to collect the most undies, surviving waves of enemies, or fighting them to get the most undies. There’s enough to keep it from being repetitive and the difficulty ramps up nicely. Challenges also happen to be the way to unlock indie characters to add to the roster. Yooka Laylee from, well Yooka-Laylee and Commander Video from Bit.trip Runner are two of the more notable ones, but you’ll recognise a few (or you can find them easily online). While the first tiers of the challenges are pretty easy going, you won’t be breezing through the rest. You’re going to have to work for those unlockable characters. It was good to see the challenges don’t feel like an afterthought.
The visuals look fine enough, there’s only so much to say about them as you’ll see the same five environments a lot. There are a fair few variations, but games rarely go on so long that many will feel unique. The characters are all distinct enough to see easily if you’re playing on the big screen, although it wouldn’t be ideal playing with multiple players on tabletop mode. Although the environments don’t always clearly communicate some of the hazards, you’ll find out quickly through trial and error. Like the visuals, the sound is fine, it’s not bad by any stretch, it’s just there feeling all ‘fight’-y.
The nice 60fps keeps everything running smoothly, although I’m not sure if this has impacted the game in another place; the loading times. The loading times made it hard to tackle the single-player challenges, as well as dragging down multiplayer matches too. While the challenges themselves take a minute or less, you could even call them…brief, the loading in between is just long enough to sap some fun. With the multiplayer battles, it feels too long between rounds as you’re hit with more loading. The roughest loading times occur when you want to go back to the menu after completing a challenge. It made me want to exit to the Switch home screen and walk away.
I’ve been informed that there is a content pack incoming for Brief Battles. Unfortunately. it isn’t available at the time of review and I believe won’t be at launch either, so I’m unsure what it will add or improve upon the game. It’s good that it’s being supported,
Some matches can be so close you’ll be touching cloth. Brief Battles can be pretty fun if you want something you and a group of friends just want to jump right into. If you don’t mind not being able to play against friends online and can fill a couch, there’s a decent party game here. If you can tolerate some annoying loading times the challenges also have something to offer for when you don’t have everyone around.
Brief Battles is a very specific type of game and it does that well enough. If the loading times get patched it will make it even better, as well as more content on the way which is always a bonus. If you’re looking for a party game to play when people are over, Brief Battles could be a nice palate cleanser between rounds of Mario Party and Jackbox.
+ Fun and frantic multiplayer battles
+ Solo and co-op challenges give more to do when friends aren’t around
+ Put some underpants on Yooka
- Feels like it’s more time loading then playing
- No online multiplayer limits the party fun
- Some hazards are hard to see