Supercell are a monster of mobile gaming. Hay Day, Clash Of Clans and Boom Beach have enjoyed immense success, and Brawl Stars sets out to apply that success across 2019. But should you download Brawl Stars?
I’m a keen mobile gamer for commutes and generally switching off after work, and Brawl Stars had me hooked in straight away. The Supercell freemium model persists here, with gems and coins providing the usual pay-to-win in game currencies, and boxes increase and improve your roster of Brawlers.
The tokens you can receive towards these boxes are time limited, which is where the game does get a little grindy; getting your wallet out will shortcut your progress. However, the matchmaking means you’re usually playing with people at your level, and there’s no pesky ads or lockouts to be found here.
Brawl Stars excels where it keeps things simple. A core set of play modes are available, and sometimes come with added power ups, robots and asteroids to keep you on your toes.
Showdown pits you against 9 other players on your own or 4 teams of two with a partner, condensing the best bits of Fortnite et al into a fast-paced, frantic battle royale. .Gem Grab does exactly what it says on tin, putting you in 3v3 teams to pick up, drop and eventually horde gems to win out. Bounty is a 3v3 battle where the price on your head jumps up as you take other players out and earn the bounty on their heads. Heist sees your team defending your safe while you attack your foes’ and Brawl Ball is a brilliant first-to-two football-lite game.
There’s also a set of special events that require event tokens (yet another thing to accumulate in-game) to play, which involve defending a safe from robot attack or a 5v1 showdown where one of the players is a “super brawler”. All in all, there’s plenty to keep you busy, and it’s here where Brawl Stars has really hit the nail on the head.
Some might find the game modes in Brawl Stars a little simplistic, but I’m a sucker for a game that’s easy to pick up and hard to excel at, and the balance here is just about right.
There’s (currently) 22 characters (or Brawlers) to unlock in Brawl Stars. Some are earned through in-game trophies and others through random boxes or by spending gems (although they’re rarely cheap with the latter).
The fighters range from short range sneakers to long range snipers, and each character has a unique set of strengths and weakness that work better in particular game modes and situations. Your brawlers have their own experience points for you to accrue, and max out at power level 10, where a few extra moves await patient gamers.
As is to be expected, there’s costume changes aplenty (parents beware), but they make no difference to the character’s abilities and are probably geared up for the yet-to-blossom Brawl Stars merchandise range.
Clubs and Teams
Brawl Stars is pretty much entirely P2P apart from the “Friendly” mode, and you’re able to join clubs, create teams and add friends from Facebook / through a sharing link. You can also add players who you’ve been matchmade with previously, which means you’ll soon be building up favourite players to team up with.
Brawl Stars is one of my favourite mobile games of recent years. It has that perfect balance of being tricky, infuriating and hard to put down, and I’ll probably have to have it pried from my hands sometime around Spring.