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Review: HyperBrawl Tournament (Nintendo Switch)By Nayu At 18.08.2022 09:38

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HyperBrawl Tournament is set up like most "freemium" games one might expect from a major developer: it features a cast of unique characters with different abilities, weapons, and outfits. Players play matches to level up their own profile and unlock more content. HyperBrawl Tournament, however, is not a freemium title, and while there appears to be a lot of content - and to its credit, it feels like much more is available from the gate, while there still appears to be quite a lot to unlock. The player base, at least on the Switch, seems to be nearly non-existent, with virtually every matchmaking attempt ending up being a game against AI opponents.

While certainly well-intentioned on the part of the developer, this creates frustration because the AI is pitiful. Bots offer very little help when they're teammates, and otherwise alternate between utterly devastating and completely incompetent, with bots on both teams frequently stopping and just standing around, unresponsive. The gameplay in general is sluggish; players are charged with getting a ball into a net, with various stage obstacles as well as opponents trying to stop them.

Characters walk slowly, and even attacks seem lethargic, not particularly hyper. They also seem to be completely random; at times pummelling an enemy seems to do about as much harm as a slight breeze, while other times enemies will get a KO on the first punch. On that topic, KO-ing enemies is extremely detrimental to gameplay, as they will almost immediately respawn right in front of their net, meaning getting a KO and then shooting at the net is a sure fire way to simply pass the ball to the other team. It feels like being punished for KO-ing enemies, which is a bad place for a fighting game to be.

Bots on the player's team seem programmed to play goalie; they retreat to the net and never leave, leaving both enemy combatants to repeatedly gang up on the player character. For all intents and purposes, any title with bots is essentially 2-on-1, stacked against the player. In spite of all of this, there is a solid gameplay formula underneath, and games against human opponents do appear to be fun, it's just a shame they never seem to happen, at least online. In the meantime, character designs and variations are strong, and this runs smoothly enough. The camera is zoomed out so far it's hard to see any real detail, particularly when playing undocked, and the animations are blocky and stagnant. Even on the menu screens, visible in all their detail, most characters stand slack-jawed and stiff, like slightly sentient mannequins.

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Final Score
[i]HyperBrawl Tournament[/i] plays like a big-studio freemium title, but without any of the big studio polish… and it isn't free. It might work well enough within its own context, but the player base is non-existent, plus the AI is too frustrating to make bot matches fun. There seems to be plenty of content to unlock through ranking up, but frustrating matches offer little incentive to do it. If the developer can build up a player base, this might offer a bit of fun, but as-is there's just not much to keep people coming back to this Switch version.

6

/10

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