Save State Is Running and Gunning With Side-Scrolling Shooter Broforce

Welcome back to Save State, where the last couple weeks have been too busy to enjoy much more of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. I fought my way through chapter 11, but I’m not sure there was enough to talk about for a full article. The problem with driving everywhere means that I don’t get to use my usual PC to play games, and while I can play Final Fantasy VII Remake on my Steam Deck, the game is demanding enough in terms of performance that just an hour and a half of play means I need to be near the charger. Instead, with all the traveling, I thought it would be fine to play some titles less dependent on the specs of Valve’s Steamy Wonder Brick and will talk about one of those this week.

While in the car (as a passenger, I don’t own a self-driving car, lol) I took a peek at what games I downloaded to my Steam Deck but hadn’t played yet. This caused Broforce to pop right to the top of the list, a title that I hadn’t touched in years, but it seemed as good a game as any to keep my hands busy while doing casual conversation. Broforce’s theme probably seems old hat, now, thanks to Helldivers II’s surge in popularity, but the focus on 80s and 90s action heroes and overly exuberant patriotism still make for a fun experience 9 years after Broforce’s release date.

Broforce is a 2D side-scrolling shooter that takes inspiration from, lampoons, and honors action cinema stars from several decades ago. In this game, you run n’ gun as Rambro, Indiana Brones, and Bronan the Brobarian. Even popular female characters like Ellen Ripbro from Alien and The Brode from Kill Bill appear for players to explode swaths of unpatriotic dissidents and aliens. The sheer volume of references and clear love for action films shows brightly in every single facet of Broforce, from its excellent pixel visuals, to its incredibly on the nose theme song.

The gameplay of Broforce is incredibly simple: You pick your character, which determines which guns and special attacks you have access to, and then you wreak absolute havoc indiscriminately on any enemies who dare creep up before you. You reach the end of the stage when you get to the chopper, which causes the entire level to explode due to what can only be presumed as an overdose of liberty.

The levels of Broforce are almost completely destructible, which means if there’s an enemy that you don’t know how to handle, you can simply blow up the ground beneath it to make it easier to take out. Of course, Broforce isn’t some insanely easy game, if your current Bro dies or you find an extra life, you’re immediately switched to a different Bro at random. And you’re probably going to die, it only takes one hit to die and later in the title there will be explosions, aliens, and supernatural creatures absolutely everywhere, each one of them wanting to take a chunk out of your delicious Bro-flesh.

Each Bro has their own weapons and unique ability, and some may jive more with you than others. Heck, some Bros are limited to melee attacks, like Mr. Anderbro from The Matrix, but to make up for it he can blink dash in a given direction and is able to create a forcefield that returns enemy bullets at whoever fired them. The sheer variation is crazy, and because you’re likely going to die a lot, you’ll get intimately familiar with each character’s abilities in short order.

Broforce is full of great levels, but also has an extensive packed-in level editor, with the ability to share and play community levels right from an in-game browser. Its amazing rock soundtrack would not be out of place in any action film from the 90s. There’s even multiplayer, and from what I remember playing this several years ago, the destructible nature of the levels really comes into play once you have two or three players all shooting explosives, it was pure chaos and an absolutely great time.

Broforce is one of those titles that’s easy to come back to because beneath all of the patriotic, action hero silliness lies a well-designed 2D side-scrolling shooter with loads of fun quirks. The quick nature of its levels also made it great to just pop on for 20 minutes or so, then return later. Or, in my case, nine years later! Due to its pick up and play nature, Broforce was a great one to dig into for a little bit while away from home on my Steam Deck.

With that said, I think I’ll bring this entry of Save State to a close. If you’re wanting to hear about what I thought of the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake, that’s still coming, I just need to make some more progress in that. I figured taking a brief break to talk about some delightful indie titles that kept me busy over the last couple weeks would be nice, though. In any event, see you later in June!

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