Do you often sit and think about how classic games could use a bit of a modern twist? Say, I don’t know, Pong, for example. The father of all modern games has had several facelifts and adaptations over the years but nothing too crazy. With that in mind, could you imagine a modern twist of Pong where a crazy and colourful bunch of Capcom-inspired fighters face each other in ultimate combat, and these epic duels all take place in outer space?! Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what we have here with Ultra Space Battle Brawl.
I had no idea what to expect from first booting up Ultra Space Battle Brawl. It looked intriguing with its bright colour scheme and a cast of interesting looking characters. Playing Ultra Space Battle Brawl for the first time, even with how crazy it can look and feel, you do get an immediate sense of familiarity because this is essentially space Pong, and everyone has played Pong or a variation of the classic in their life. With no steep learning curve, you can jump straight in and start enjoying the obvious highlight of Ultra Space Battle Brawl, you know, the actual brawls.
There are a few options here to choose from when landing on the main menu. You can jump straight into the action against the computer in a 1v1, or if you are feeling particularly brave, you can try a 1v2 match-up. 2v2 is, of course, also available either by teaming up with a friend against the computer or by going against two other friends as four-player support is available. You can even play a 2v2 by yourself, with the computer controlling the other three players, and the computer actually does a pretty decent job controlling your partner.
The brawls here, as you could probably tell just from the screenshots, are absolutely insane, but in a fun way. The objective is to hit the object and break away gems that guard your opponent’s health, which is symbolised by some weird looking…well, the only way to describe them is that they look like the cast of Angry Birds but in wigs. The battles are extremely fast-paced but not too crazy as to be unplayable. It just provides a decent challenge, with the brawls also being somewhat tactical as well. You may think you just button mash the swing button to hit the object towards the gems/birds, and in a sense, you’d be right, but there are some other factors to consider, with the biggest one being the player deciding how far away from their own gems they should go. Obviously, being close to your own gems and playing a more defensive game will make it slightly harder to attack and vice versa. Throughout the fight, you will be building up your ‘ultra’ meter, and when this is filled, you can unleash a crazy special attack that could either finish off a battling opponent or start your incredible comeback.
Battles all take place above various planets in the solar system, with each level also providing a different layout to the gems and bird health bar thing (something I thought I would never type), which also adds some variety to the gameplay. The battle arenas (I suppose?) and characters all look great. This is a game that would have looked at home on a console such as the SNES, and that is hugely popular in 2018. All the characters look great and generate their own sort of personality just from the art style, really, which is a huge achievement by the team at Mojiken Studio. The only real negative to the gameplay is, unlike traditional fighting games, there are no combos or other moves to learn here apart from swinging and hitting the object or getting a special attack. Long play sessions, therefore, become a bit mundane, but that is only if you are playing by yourself. Get a few buds around and have some suds, and Ultra Space Battle Brawl will become your fun drunk game of choice, but they will have to come around, or the beauty of the Switch means you can go to them or the pub as there is no online multiplayer supported.
Out of the versus matches, there is a story mode for each of the 10 characters you can play as. The stories are what you would expect from what is essentially a fighting game, with a short beginning cutscene about your chosen fighter, and off you go, fighting through the other 9 fighters, with some bonus battles to contend with as well. There obviously was never going to be an award for storytelling here, but it is still a lot of fun to make your way through the stories in this game.
Developer: Mojiken Studio
Publisher: Toge Productions
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 5th July 2018