A Brilliant Blend of Genres – Cannon Brawl Review

Cannon Brawl takes the brilliance of several genres, puts them in a blender, and leaves everyone questioning what the end result is going to be like. The end result is a brilliant, fun, and slightly addictive game that is great fun to play with friends.

 

Game: Cannon Brawl

Price: $14.99 (currently on sale for $11.24 from the website) / $19.99 for a two-pack

Available On: Steam (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Reviewed On: Windows

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review

Cannon Brawl is, essentially, a game that is a mixture of the strategy and “tank” genres. The story is fairly simple: you play as a princess, whose evil uncle is starting to take over the realm (with his minion and minionette), and your evil uncle has kidnapped just about your entire family. Throughout the story you’ll be able to unlock each family member, but more on that later.

During each level, you move your airship with the arrow keys. This game does not feature a mouse cursor at all. The entirety of the game is played with just the keyboard. The spacebar is the selection button, and the ‘X’ key is cancel. The game does have gamepad support, which I tried briefly, but in the world map, where you fly an airship around to select the level, the airship just constantly scrolled up, making it near impossible to select a level. If you managed to though, it worked fine.

Each level is set up with a HQ at either end of a two dimensional map, which is totally destructible. The level also has several gold (and occasionally diamond) deposits, which harvest gold coins for the economy when a mine is placed on them. Once enough money is earned, weapons can be bought, and this game features a whole lot of them.

Cannon Brawl Warhead

The Terrifying Warhead

The basic weapon is the cannon, which fires a single shell, although in later levels you’ll pick up the: rocket launcher, which fires a single shell that splits into more shells; the laser, which fires a laser that can blast through the environment; the bomb-walker, which fires a shell that transforms into a walking bomb when it lands, which can get past enemy defences; the ice tower, which fires a shell that freezes the enemies weapons and deals damage; the terrifying warhead (pictured above) which deals a ton of damage; the drill, which fires drills that drill through the environment; and a lot of other weapons that are extremely devious in the right hands, and if they’re used right. All weapons can be upgraded a total of three times, which will increase the range and power of each weapon, for example the cannon will be able to hit the enemy’s HQ from any distance and do a lot of damage at the same time.

Cannon Brawl Explosion

Boom!

Once a weapon has been placed, the airship can dock with the weapon and fire it. This is where the game transitions from a real time strategy (RTS) tower defence game to a “tank” game. Once inside the weapon, you aim the weapon, which displays a set of green arrows to let you know the direction of the arc (think Angry Birds). The weapon is then fired, and the shell goes its happy way.

The game also features online and local multiplayer. I didn’t get a chance to try local multiplayer, but the online multiplayer was very good, and adds a lot of replay value to the game. Online multiplayer consists of choosing the airship captain (there are several different ones, all of whom have different abilities), choosing six weapons, and then battling to the death with your opponent. Online is really where the game shows its merits, not choosing to go after that gold deposit, or simply placing a weapon in the wrong spots, or not choosing the right weapon for the right map, can lead to a swift defeat. This is helped by how short the games are, I rarely found that a game would go for longer than ten minutes (even in the single player campaign), and that most online matches went for an average of about five. This meant I was quick to challenge my friend to a rematch, which I would win. Then he would win the next one. Than I would win the next two. This kind of constantly trying to be better than everyone else, especially your friends, make this game that much more fun, especially if you’re very competitive.

Cannon Brawl Gameplay

The mayhem of Cannon Brawl

That isn’t to say the game isn’t without its flaws. The game doesn’t have many, actually, although there is one in particular that might just be a problem on my end, and that is an unreasonable amount of lag and input lag from the game, which has occurred since the last update. I run games through a fairly decent laptop/tablet hybrid (it’s not weak, by any means), but I run them through a portable hard drive, connected to a USB hub, connected to my computer. This has never been a problem running games before. It’s only lagged very badly once before, and that was with the Battlefield Hardline beta, which was a beta and designed for very good computers. To make sure it wasn’t an issue with my setup, I tried two other games, So Many Me and Game Dev Tycoon, and these worked fine, with no input lag or any other sort of lag at all. I even turned the settings down to the ‘Old Graphics Card’ mode, but this did very little. It was perfectly fine before the update, but now it’s just extremely laggy. I’m not going to criticise the game that much for it though, no other reviews have mentioned it, and it has only been mentioned in the steam community a few times (in the earlier models of the game), so I’m going to be fairly lenient on the game for what could possibly just be a problem on my end. With all that being said though, the game has very little other flaws, aside from possibly being slightly addicting that I forgot to take a break once or twice while playing.

Cannon Brawl Gameplay

Fire the cannon!

The length of this game is very good, I’ve played 6 hours, and in that time I’ve finished the normal campaign and played some online multiplayer, but there is a “nightmare” mode of the campaign that is unlocked after the original campaign is finished. I’ve completed about 3 of the nightmare levels, but I don’t have the patience to carefully plan my attacks against a very smart AI while being beaten several times. In addition to this, there are also puzzles scattered throughout the campaign, of which I’ve completed one, and these offer a good challenge to the exceptionally smart people who are brilliant at both puzzles and strategy games. Furthermore, there are a total of three medals to be earned per level, for Actions Per Minute achieved, completing the level within a time limit, and whether you are victorious in the level. This adds more content for completionists. Furthermore, there’s also an armoury where more weapons and pilots can be bought.

Overall, this game is fantastic. Were it not for the lag I’d been experiencing since the recent update, this game would have been a 9. But there was, but it’s still a fantastic game that I’d recommend, if only you could try before you buy with a demo.

Positives

  • Great selection of weapons
  • Lots of fun
  • Great single player campaign
  • Replay value in great online multiplayer mode
  • Local multiplayer

8.5.fw

Negatives

  • Lag in single player campaign, although this may have been an issue only on my end
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