By Peter Magers on Fri, 04/20/2012
If you know games, you know Unreal Engine is the head of the pack for 3D graphics. If you didn’t know that, well, now you do. And it’s part of the genius recipe behind Oozoo’s new entry: Brandnew Boy. The game offers up great graphics that run smoothly, but it’s got a whole lot more on the menu as well.
Anime-inspired characters battle it out in a surreal world. Where is it? Why are you there? Wouldn’t you like to know… So would the main character and your avatar, Rookie. The poor kid has amnesia, but thankfully muscle memory has kicked in and he’s relearning his martial arts skills (and picking up new ones) as fast as he can. Good thing, too, because all you do in the regular stages is battle, jog to another battle, and battle some more. If that sounds like a grind, it isn’t, thanks to beautifully choreographed fighting and a uniquely intuitive control set up for combat.
On the right side of your screen, you’ll have icon-tapping-access to special moves and items, but it’s the standard fighting that is going to dominate your attention in the beginning. Tap is attack, and swipe is dodge—doesn’t sound sophisticated, until you take into account a special system set up to score combos. By striking at the right moment, and managing to do it repeatedly with consecutive hits, you’ll up Rookie’s face-smashing factor considerably. And see some impressive moves in the process. To judge when it’s the right time, you’re provided with a helpful little status bar that makes it clear. Once you get the hang of it, it turns Rookie’s fighting style into something rhythmic, almost a dance—if dancing was a super freaking awesome way to annihilate monsters.
Speaking of monsters, Brandnew Boy has a uniquely creepy range of enemies to battle. Whatever this dimension is, it’s populated largely by short, fat, round egg-like people (who can be deadly) and tall, painfully thin, snappily dressed people who don’t show their faces (and are even more deadly). All of them apparently hate you, so observe your new foes carefully—their skills, attacks, and defenses vary considerably. If they weren’t freaky and vicious enough, you’ll also find yourself under attack from bosses that are truly monstrous. Don’t let cute names like “Franken-tiger” lull you into complacency. Brandnew Boy definitely has some anime whimsy going on, but the dark side of its personality isn’t lacking either.
The graphics and audio are exceptionally well done. Brandnew Boy is as much fun to watch as it is to play at times, and Oozoo’s art direction doesn’t let you down. You won’t see as much texture during action scenes as you might on a console game, but that’s a small price to pay for no hanging, no freeze ups, and no crashes. A nice flying-camera POV during fights shows off everything Brandnew Boy does so well.
Brandnew Boy isn’t only a must have for quality, it’s also a must-have because it’s one of the most affordable games in its class. At $.99, I can’t think of any other game that can compete. It’s in iTunes now, look it up!