It might be early days yet, but I’m liking the look of Brief Battles so far. There’s a couple of reasons why, outside of the obvious ‘it’s damn fun’.

Going hands-on at RTX the other week was my first proper introduction to this four player brawler, which pits players against each other in smallish arenas and dodging various butt stomping, power pants attacks. From the outset, it’s entertaining on its premise alone, as you pick up various abilities that last but a short amount of time to pull off a killing blow.

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The character designs remind me a little of Double Fine’s rounded but colourful characters in Stacking, though for the moment their purple and pink exterior’s are the only thing that sets them apart during play. That’ll no doubt change over time, but for now they can cling to walls, move around rather quickly and jump across chasms with relative ease.

Brief Battles is played through a few short rounds across different map types, with the winner determined by the amount of kills pulled off. In my brief (heh) time with it, I was a little confused at first over the control scheme and my timing with the butt stomp was a little off. You’ll have use of the stomp the entire time, though the powers that appear during play open things up with potential hits from a distance or poison like abilities that kill over time.

The more I played, the better I got and the more fun each skirmish became. At one point, in a level that made use of mini portals and plenty of spikes around the field of play, another player and I had a stand-off on either side of the map as we threw our fire and ice at each other through the portals to the other side. Timing is everything if you want to be successful, but in this case it was just hilarious to watch.

I did make one suggestion. At the moment, you can only shoot left and right with whatever power you pick up, and I felt as if an ability to shoot down or up would serve to better those who might not be as quick on their feet in dodging stomps or shooting from afar. The suggestion was also made to make spikes more clearly defined as a hazard, something that caught me out early on. Juicy Cupcake know there’s plenty to work on over time, but the framework and the fun is clearly established.

Beyond that, Brief Battles is the perfect example of a four-player brawler done right, though I do have one more thought. The characters and the powers are rather unique and enjoyable in their own right that maybe a story campaign, a traditional side-scroller, would also serve this world well. It’s just a theory, but maybe it’s something to consider for later.

Brief Battles heads to PC and hopefully consoles in 2018.

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