Well here’s a game that works well with touch screen controls, I thought to myself. Brandnew Boy comes to us via iOS for iPad and iPhone from developer Oozoo and its pretty, refreshing and has a killer soundtrack to boot. In case you missed it I would like to highlight Brandnew Boy as a must-have game for hardcore gamers with an idevice.
Brandnew Boy tells the tale of a young boy thrust into a crazy world filled with fighting eggs, sword wielding assassins and deadly boss monsters. The thing is, he cant even remember his name! Okay so amnesia is far from an original plot idea and a talking telly that goads him on smacks of typical japanese randomness straight from suda 51′s neighbourhood but the story isn’t really the strong point. There’s no voiceovers and if you choose to play as a female character that was added post-release you will still see the boy speaking all the dialogue, no what really sold me on Brandnew Boy is the fantastic combat, lush visuals and intuitive touch controls.
Now I know what you’re thinking “ugh touch controls -groan-” and I’m with you on that, often enough we find a touch control game mistaking an input that a simple button would understand but what Oozoo have gone for here is utter simplicity, fighting is all done with one input! To begin combat you tap on your target, your character will lock on and launch their first attack. To continue the assault all you have to do is tap anywhere on the screen, extra damage is awarded for precise timing. Tap the exact moment your strike lands and the next one will be more powerful, once you chain twenty hits together you will enter fever mode and deal out crushing blows that send your opponents flying!
It’s not all attack, however, oh no. As you’ll often be pitted against groups of up to five enemies simultaneously you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for incoming attacks, which is made easier with icons onscreen for enemies that are out of view. To dodge incoming attacks you simply swipe in the direction you wish to roll then continue your assault. There are quite a few varieties of enemy available as you progress, some of which have shields that require you to break with a double tap, others have shockwave attacks, lasers and projectiles that require perfect timing to evade.
When things get a bit too hairy you have an arsenal of skills to u leash via icons at the bottom of the Heads-Up Display (HUD). Their uses vary based on the skill’s level and gender Of the player character. The boy has a move that sends a foe rocketing up into the air, the girl conversely, has a kiss that causes nearby enemies to swoon and lower their guard, giving you an opening to strike. Other skills include jumping onto an opponent and stomping him repeatedly to increase your combo chain, a breakdancing spin that knocks back surrounding foes and even one that allows you to switch gender mid-battle (if the boy was confused about his identity before imagine how that compounds it).
Brandnew Boy is built using sturdy and reliable unreal technology, (the same behind infinity blade) so it looks crisp and gorgeous. It has a wonderfully edgy visual style complete with comic-book style effects during the action. It looks like what would result if you mixed final fantasy with viewtiful joe although sadly without the cel shading of the latter. To top it all off it all runs at a high frame rate without chugging during the juicy bits so there’s a big tick in the visuals box.
As I mentioned before Brandnew Boy has a wicked soundtrack, right from the main menu you’re treated to a high-energy keyboard riff accompanied by a twiddling guitar solo and thats pretty much the level of awesomeness held throughout the game. Its a fantastic example of a game’s soundtrack matching the visual aesthetic perfectly, it’s funky, energetic and accents the combat well. One point that saddened me was the fact the combat didn’t match the beats of the music, which would have turned it into more of a rhythm-action game. The combat has a rhythm of its own so you can do it without thinking, it just strikes me as odd that the music wasn’t more a part of the combat.
Apart from being a toe-tapping brawler, Brandnew Boy is a strong RPG, adding a lot of depth and replayability to the game. Defeating foes grants you experience and gold in the traditional way, which you can use to upgrade your stats and buy equipment to customise your character with (check the picture below). Theres a satisfying balance between grind and reward that will keep you revisiting levels to beat your high score and gather the coins to improve your weapons and armour but since some are more expensive than others or require a special type of rare currency you will undoubtedly come across Brandnew Boy’s most irritating feature: in-app purchases.
Yes, in-app purchases. By spending real money you can buy special OC coins to get rare and powerful items. Now I’m not against in-app purchases per se, if a developer gives away their product free i’ll happily throw a little bit of money their way if I like their product, what I dislike, however, is having parts of the game locked out until I pay when I have already paid for the game. Luckily, you can earn a few OC coins by playing the excellent infinity mode, an unending gauntlet of enemies that gives you plenty of time to revel in the game’s awesome combat, but accumulating coins this way is arduous so you will feel like you will have to pay if you want the best items.
Don’t let that put you off buying the game though, sadly thats just the current trend of gaming nowadays, developers are feeling the squeeze and need to cover their expenses like everyone else. Thankfully in-app purchases mean a cheaper initial purchase price so you can get Brandnew Boy for less than the price of a packet of bacon and it’s almost as tasty! Stunning visuals, a catchy soundtrack and fast paced intuitive combat will have you up all night and if you feel so inclined, a bit of spare change can dress your character up as a sexy secretary, rrowr!
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