Cannon Brawl Review
Turtle Sandbox may not be a name you think of when it comes to well known video game developers, but thanks to its latest game, Cannon Brawl, gamers who love Indie titles will surely take notice of the small studio. Cannon Brawl is an Artillery style game (think Worms) that also blends aspects of the RTS genre to create a very fun and addicting gameplay experience that keeps you highly entertained throughout its single-player and multiplayer offerings.
Rather than just having players manage resources, buildings, and AI units that require directives to act, Cannon Brawl forces you to to be fully engaged with all aspects of its gameplay. It accomplishes this by requiring you to control all of your offensive and defensive structures separately, while also keeping an eye on resource gathering and structure building. For example, let’s say I just built a cannon tower and want to fire it at the enemy’s encampment before I branch out to build another Mine (required to gather resources). To do so I have to dock my airship at the cannon, enter it, line up my shot and fire, and as soon as the shell is sent towards its target I would then have to leave the cannon and attend to building the Mine by returning to my castle to airlift one to a gold or diamond reserve within my territory. To make things even more interesting and frenetic your territory can only be increased by building air balloons, or other structures, so a Cannon Brawl match always turns into a symphony of action that keeps you on your toes until your foe is vanquished.
Unlike pure RTS or Artillery titles, there is no real downtime in Cannon Brawl, which is one of the reasons its gameplay is so addictive, and at times very challenging. You constantly have to balance your time between expanding your territory to gain more resources to build defensive and offensive structures to protect your castle, while also trying to destroy your opponents. You must pilot your airship to build structures, and to use said structures, so you never have time to just sit back and relax, which is also part of Cannon Brawl’s charm. It brilliantly mixes in the best elements from RTS and Artillery games to create a hybrid gameplay model that is easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master as the challenge gets increasingly more difficult. The implementation of medals for hitting certain mission objectives, such as making “X number of moves in one minute”, also add to the fast pace of Cannon Brawl’s gameplay, and give its campaign mode legs for perfectionists.
The campaign offers 2-3 hours of gameplay rooted around a feuding royal family over twenty traditional missions and ten puzzle-based missions. The story is rather forgettable, but helps to introduce the cast of pilots that can be used throughout the campaign and in its multiplayer mode. The reason the pilots are so key to Cannon Brawl is because each one offers a bonus power that can be used to turn the tide of war. There are over ten pilots to unlock, and their powers range from faster building cool downs to rechargeable superpowers, such as the ability to drill underneath an enemy’s structure to destroy it or alter its position by blowing out the earth it is built upon.
In addition to the pilot powers that are unlocked by saving the pilots during campaign missions, players can also unlock new structures to use to bring the pain down on enemies with flair. Unlockable structures like the Lightning Rod and Flamethrower tower can really change up gameplay strategies, so earning XP and spending it on these unlockable structures can really give you a formidable arsenal to help win the day.
Cannon Brawl also has a Battle Mode versus the game’s AI, and local/online Competitive Multiplayer modes against other players, so there is a ton of value in its $15 asking price. The Battle Mode is a great way to hone strategies for multiplayer, while the latter is for those players who want to test their airship skills against other human pilots.
Turtle Sandbox’s Cannon Brawl is the perfect hybrid of the RTS and Artillery genres, and its gameplay will surely resonate with fans of action based strategy titles who have a passion for the Worms franchise. It’s lovely cartoon visuals compliment the tight controls and awesome gameplay perfectly, making it a joy to play, and very hard to put down until you conquer its challenges. It’s just one of those games that will make you thankful for the Indie developer movement, because it’s fun as hell to play, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy, and is curated by talented developers that will stop at nothing to ensure the gaming public remains pleased with its offerings. If you enjoy RTS titles but want a hands on approach to the defensive and offensive combat aspects, you can’t go wrong with Cannon Brawl and its unique mix of gameplay tactics.
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Review Statement: The author of this review received a code for it on PC from the developer for the purposes of this review.