Playing is believing. In gaming, those words are so true. Even if a game doesn’t quite do it for you aesthetically or something about it kind of bothers you… if you play it, maybe then you’ll realize the truth of the game. Cannon Brawl hit me much the same: a basic, simple RTS-type game. (It’s unfortunately hard to truly capture the essence of a videogame in videos at times.) Then I got my hands on Cannon Brawl at PAX and my eyes were opened. There is a lot of fun to be had here and there is quite a depth of strategy to go with it!
So every map starts out much the same. Two players or you and an AI each control a base on opposite sides of said map. Your objective is the blow the other guy’s base up. There are plenty of tools at your disposal with which to do that. Maybe you’re a direct approach guy/gal and love how lasers dig straight at your opponent’s base giving you an easy in. They can trump you with Shield Towers to deflect those lasers back at you. Then you could choose the Bomb Bot Blaster tower to send Bomb Bots to walk through their shields, but then they dig a ditch and your bombs are rendered somewhat mute. There are multiple weapons and all of them serve their purpose well. For me, the exception to the rule is the Missile Tower. To note, all of my friends use the Missile Tower well and like it. However, I’ve just found it to be an indirect approach to victory and that’s not my “thing” most of the time. I want things to do more damage, not a spread of lesser damage. It’s hard to pin-point an attack with that weapon.
The story, while feeling like it’s setup to give you an introduction into the world of Cannon Brawl, does more than that. The campaign serves as a way of unlocking multiple towers and characters to use in multiplayer battles and while doing that, proved to be rather fun. Players who don’t want to get their feet wet in the world on online competitive multiplayer games should defeat the single-player campaign and unlock Nightmare Mode. Some of the early levels will prove simple if you’ve picked up a few strategies and tricks along the way, however some of the levels are just plain brutal! I remember watching my bud play a level called Laser Defense and the enemy would quickly amass about eight to ten lasers all pointed at my friend’s base. The rounds didn’t last very long, but man did he get close a few times… to living longer.
Cannon Brawl also brings back something that I miss: sitting next to your friends and playing games. I know that some people have arrangements where this isn’t an oddity to them. For myself, a lot of games that are Versus or Co-op are all online. We can feel connected all we want with Raidcall or your preference of communication, but nothing beats sitting next to some buds all yelling and cheering while playing the same game on the same screen. Cannon Brawl provided a lot of fun at a bud’s recent bachelor/LAN party. It was one of the highlights of the night other than playing some TF2!
There is plenty of content and multiple mash-ups of levels and weapons to be had. So much so that you’ll have to be quick on your toes to best the people over the net. Coincidentally, that’s also where my one fault with the game lives. The map variety for Versus play is good. It’s not great, but it is good. It would be better if there were more maps to play on. More could be added in later, that’s not the issue, but I think this may be enhanced by allowing users to create maps. Open up the size of the maps as well so that you could have small, medium and large settings for some truly epic, if not way-to-drawn-out matches! I think this would also be a way to make some of the other tower options one takes into battle a little bit more desirable. Suddenly the Mountain Maker and the Floating Platform seem like great ideas to get to the other side or higher up for a better angle.
The Rules of the contest!
I’ve got five copies of Cannon Brawl (on Steam) to giveaway to my fine readers and here’s how you can snag yourself a copy. I would like to hear your fondest RTS memory. It could be when you first introduced your girlfriend to Star Craft and she destroyed you. It could also be a party where you stayed up all night playing some C&C. You can either reply below (if you registered on The Backlog with your correct email), send it to me via The Backlog’s Facebook site or, if you believe you can tweet your story in so many characters, you can contact me via Twitter! I’ll pick out my favorites in two weeks. Give me your best shot!