Brawl Stars is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and third-person hero shooter mobile game, and it is from Supercell, the maker of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. You can jump in solo or with your friend and battle in various game modes in under three minutes. Characters are controlled with on-screen joysticks: one to move the character and the other to shoot.
At the beginning of the game there is a tutorial that guides you through both controls and shooting. After the tutorial you have to complete a practice battle to unlock the full game which helps you get used to the controls and prepare yourself against real players. At first you only have one character, Shelly with a shotgun, but there are a total of 60 characters to unlock, which all have different abilities and weapons. All the characters have their own unique looks and voice lines which is a nice detail. What saddens me a bit is the fact that being able to unlock all the characters will require a lot of dedication and play time as some of the characters can be unlocked only when you have reached several thousand trophies, which are collected by winning games.
Even if you do not win, you will earn experience (XP) and tokens, with which you can open Brawl Boxes (loot boxes) from the Brawl Pass (Battle Pass). The loot you get from the Brawl Boxes will help you upgrade your characters; You will need both Power Points and coins to upgrade your character’s power level. This will take some time as the Power Points are a little hard to get.
In the beginning there are two game modes you can play alone or with friends. In “Showdown” you can go alone or with a partner to fight in a battle arena. Whoever is still standing at the end wins. You can collect power cubes to increase your health and attack damage. There are also poison clouds closing in, so you have to keep moving towards the middle of the arena. In the other game mode “Gem Grab” you will play in two teams of three (3v3). The aim of the game is to collect gems that pop out of the gem mine in the middle of the map. You can also take the gems from fallen opponents if they had some in their possession. Your team has to hold ten gems for the duration of a countdown (15 seconds) to win the game. Both “Showdown” and “Gem Grab” became my favorite game modes because I felt they were the most fun as you could switch from playing alone to playing with two other players. The game modes were also different enough: in “Showdown” you have to attack and roam around a big field to find enemies, whereas in “Gem Grab” you kind of have to defend yourself and your team so you will not lose your gems in a much smaller area.
In the game there is a “Trophy Road” that will track your progress and by winning games you will collect more trophies. These trophies unlock rewards such as new characters, Power Points and Brawl Boxes as you make progress on the road. I think this is a nice detail which encourages the player to play more as they want to unlock new things. In order to open a new game mode, you have to collect 150 trophies, which you get when you win a game of Showdown or Gem Grab. In “Brawl Ball” you have to take a ball to the opposing team’s goal to score. The match ends when one team scores two goals, or at full time. This is also a 3v3 game mode where you can eliminate player to help your team get the ball and score.
After a few games I could not receive Battle Tokens to open rewards from the free Brawl Pass as they were “exhausted”. Maybe this is to get the player to buy the premium Brawl Pass so they can unlock better rewards faster. This feature takes away from the players like myself that do not want to “pay to win” (the practice of buying in-game items that give a player a very big advantage over others). Even though there are different game modes the game can feel kind of repetitive, as it is so fast paced. You jump from a match to another, earn coins and tokens and with good luck maybe receive Power Points so you can upgrade your character. I would say Brawl Stars is not a game you can play for hours on end, but rather a quick fun to jump into when you feel bored.
Platforms: iOS, Android, iPadOS
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Genres: MOBA, hero shooter
Pictures. Brawl Stars (Supercell, 2018) gameplay. Taken by the author.
Supercell (12.10.2022). Brawl Stars. https://supercell.com/en/games/brawlstars/
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