Brotherhood United Review – Have A Beer, Bro!!!
Playing Brotherhood United took me back to the days where I would run to the arcade every time I found one at a restaurant. Whenever I did, there were two games that I would always go to: Time Crisis or Metal Slug. The latter was one of my favorites, even though I could never find myself beating it. It could’ve been a combination of my baby brain being dumb or some other eldritch abomination phenomenon, but even when I kept dying and dying, I kept coming back. Because, to me, it was the best game at the arcade.
My sister’s was Bubble Bobble, but that’s beside the point.
Brotherhood United is a 2D side-scrolling action shooter made by Greedy Hollow and published by Myoubouh Corp. It’s very heavily inspired by games like Metal Slug and Mercenary Kings, which will become apparent as you play through it.
The graphics are in your basic indie pixelated style. There’s really nothing more to say; it’s obviously not trying to do anything special, but some of the enemy designs are fun, especially once you get into the bosses, but we will get to those later. Oh, and you can create your character.
The story is about a band of guys known only as the “Brotherhood.” You are a “bro” who is being led around by your brother. Well… I think he’s your brother. It might not be your real brother, just a “bro” in the Brotherhood, but you’re just really close. Anyway, the game starts with you being taught the basics of gameplay.
So, Brotherhood United works like your average Metal Slug game. Your character can walk left, right, and can jump up. You have a gun; you can aim it in multiple directions to shoot enemies down. Your main gun, the basic pistol, has infinite ammo, while other weapons will have limited ammo that can only be replenished through ally drops. On all guns, there is a reloading mechanic similar to Gears of War where you can speed up your reload time. Other than that, you have grenades and a dodge button, the latter of which will save your life multiple times as it has a good amount of invincibility frames on it. However, I wish it was on a different button, like the right trigger, which is a second button for shooting, so it could’ve been put there with no problem.
Once your bro is done training you, all of you go out to drink a beer when he is kidnapped by bad guys. We’ll just call them “goons.” Your character screams his name as he is hauled off, and then you go to get him back.
Game Start, Bro!
Brotherhood United is split up into areas, each with multiple missions taking place in that environment. You start off in the city environments, where you can see what the rest of the game will be like. You get your first taste of combat, and a few allies to save. Allies are in the same vein as Metal Slug, where they need to be cut free before they drop you something, which can be ammo, grenades, or BEER, all three of which you’ll use to blast your way through the levels.
It’s good fun, and the soundtrack only amplifies it. It’s obvious it’s trying to set a tone of action-packed adventures, and it does that pretty well. In later environments, you’ll get some decently unique music, where they’ll even stray from relying mostly on the tried-and-true electric guitar in favor of violas. I was surprised when the soundtrack was actually above average. However, it is just that, which is still impressive for a game of this caliber.
The environments you run through aren’t anything special, and are more bland than exciting. This can be seen throughout the very first area, where they have multiple billboards with “ADVERTISE HERE” planted on them, where they could’ve used it for some funny jokes or even some decent references to the very games that influenced them.
And in these environments, Brotherhood United will have plenty of platforming if that’s what you’re into. As for me, I was hoping for a lot less, as sometimes the platforming doesn’t work that well. It isn’t because of the controls, this game controls just fine, it’s actually the strange level design. Sometimes the platforms aren’t high enough, and you’ll find yourself bumping into the ceiling multiple times, requiring you to restart. Plus, and this only matters in the first area, sometimes the platforms don’t make sense in the environment they are put in: as you platform up these office buildings where the employees can only get to the next floor by hardcore parkour, and where it looks like you can stand, because there’s a desk sitting on that very same floor in the background, you instead fall through.
Also, the AI is so weird, you can lead them off a ledge in these areas and they just gather at the bottom, unable to get back up to you. It’s pretty funny.
But sometimes you’ll encounter obstacles that you’ll need to traverse, and these are different depending on the area. One area will have you jumping over acid pits, another will have you waiting for lasers to switch off so you could go through them. The latter is slightly annoying, specifically for one part, where you have to save an ally in the way of one, and he doesn’t get damaged when the laser switches on. The enemies don’t get damaged by it either.
Speaking of damage, one thing I was worried they might not have were the mechs from Metal Slug. Those were so fun to pilot, that it would’ve been a major disappointment if those were not in Brotherhood United.
Well, I am happy to say that there are indeed mechs in this game. They play exactly like those in Metal Slug, where it has two guns on either side that point in multiple directions. One complaint I have is that when an enemy gets close to you, which they do on their own, you can’t shoot at all, because that’s usually where the melee attack comes in, but there isn’t one on the mech so you just stand there, forcing yourself to move away so you can trim them down to size. As for the frequency of these mech segments, I’ve only come across two throughout the entire 4 hours I played, which is less than I had hoped for.
You’ll never be able to use them against bosses either; only on hordes of the basic enemies, as they can get destroyed pretty quickly, which is sad because the bosses are where most of the fun is. This game has a good amount of bosses, usually at the end of each mission. Each boss is fairly unique, there aren’t any cookie-cutter designs or fights and all of them have at least one unique aspect to them. Not only that, but they also contain the best looking designs.
And once you kill the boss, you are given a ranking, which depends upon multiple factors like enemies killed, if you’ve died or not, and other things like that. The most I’ve gotten was a two star, which I’ve only got once.
Brotherhood United can be fairly difficult if you’re not careful. I’ve had to restart entire missions multiple times due to the amount of times I died, and as I’ve said, the highest score I got was two stars. I haven’t mentioned the one stars and zero stars I got. Until now.
But overall, I would say Brotherhood United does well in what it sets out to do. The game controls well, the level design, although weird at times, is solid. the music is fun, and the bosses give you that spice in life we are all looking for. If you’re looking for another Metal Slug-like game to scratch that itch, I say you can’t go wrong with Brotherhood United.
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Reviewed by Freelance7 on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Myoubouh and Silesia Games.