Developer: Overhype Studios
Publisher: Ukiyo Publishing
Platforms: Switch, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 11/03/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Battle Brothers came out of left field for me. If anyone knows me, they know I play anything with RPG in it I mean anything! So I saw this and was looking ok like the battlefield, lets get it. I am both glad I got a review code and oh god why I have I done this to myself. I do not say this lightly; this is one of the best and most agonising turn-based RPG on the Switch.
Battle Brothers is set in a dark fantasy medieval world, and you are in charge of a band of mercenaries. How the game proceeds will depend on your actions. Attack the peasants and guards or work to protect the country folk. You have the freedom to decide your own fate and how the game will play out. But be ready to fight in one of three end game events.
I want to start with the world we are in, and how it will affect the way the run will go. Battle Brothers do an outstanding job of making the world feel alive. As you travel along the map you can meet convoys, travelers and so on, this gives the option to attack them, if you want that is, thief’s and the like could attack your band as well. Each move has possible consequences. Then you hit a town, depending on the town you visit will depend on what shops are available, some will have weapons smiths others will not. If there is one, it does not mean you will get good stuff, as it may be poor. Each village has people to hire to join you, each has their own back story and pros and cons. This is two factors in a town there is far more going on in some. This shows how the world can and will affect the game.
The talk of mercenaries for hire and weapons lets look at these aspects. Each village will have a selection of men who want to fight for whatever reason. The reasons could be as simple as fed up with their job and want to change, to being a noble who has been disgraced and has nothing left. Each reason will affect the battle ability along with the stats each character has. The character may have outstanding stats but is a drunk, so is in short useless. Hiring the right guy is key, and this will be trial and error, or at least death of your band. Weapons and armour are like in most RPG’s important however with these weapons being simple low-tech affairs it is important that time is taken to get the right gear for each man.
Once the minefield of equipping and hiring the guys, you have is done, we will go for a fight. The battles are on a hexagonal grid, with the player’s band on the left and the enemies on the right. While fighting, there are two resources used in every turn. First, we have stamina, this is basically action points, allowing a character to move and attack. This will replenish after each turn. And fatigue this will build up after each turn negatively effecting each character. less accurate, for instance. There is also an injury system in place where a crippling injury will see that unable to fight until healed, this can devastate a battle, but at least they can return. SO just to ramp up the pressure there is Perma-death. Taking this in to account tackling battles are very tough and you will feel the weight of each move.
My one problem with Battle Brother is it feels like a PC game, the controls feel clunky and poorly refined for the Switch. Only other problem is the soul-crushing feeling when your band is wiped out and you have not saved for a while. Soul crushing defeat will come often and swiftly if you are not prepared.
Even with how hard I make the game seen it it so bloody good every victory feels like a fight and you earn it. The perks make each character viable and no classes, so you are free to make each character totally your own. I have not found many games that have made me feel as if I really had to plan and each move could be your last.
Battle Brothers – A Turn Based Tactical RPG is a masterpiece of game design, making the game hard and fun at the same time, and deserves so much more love than it has got so far.
If you need a real challenge and love RPG’s where each decision mean everything, why are you still here buy it!