It may look like a free-to-play mobile game on the surface, but 2D artillery-based game Cannon Brawl, which has just been released for the PC, Mac and Linux, looks to present a uniquely hectic real-time strategy experience, where, tactical decisions must be made amidst a relentless onslaught of shells and explosions.
Cannon Brawl takes place on a horizontal 2D plane in which two players must compete to shell one each others’ encampments into oblivion. Gameplay strongly resembles that of the classic Worms franchise, with cartoonish visuals and terrain that is destroyed in the same way one uses the ‘erase’ tool in Photoshop or Paint. The key difference though, is that Cannon Brawl takes place in real time, and so one’s reflexes come into play as much as strategic wit.
The manner in which one’s forces are controlled is rather cute. Players are in command of a small, invincible flying ship that is controlled with the keyboard or gamepad. Players must fly around the battlefield and through this ship interact with the various structures and turrets at their disposal, whether by relocating them to different points of the area, upgrading them, or selling them. The goal, as you might expect, is to wipe out your opponent’s castle first.
The game offers a full single player campaign, with twenty missions and ten additional puzzle levels. Adversarial multiplayer is also available both online and locally.
Developed by a two-person team, Theresa Duringer and Peter Angstadt of Turtle Sandbox, Cannon Brawl’s release comes on the heels of a good pre-release reception, having been featured as a PAX 10 selection and winning the Activision Independent Games Award, among other things.
A 6/10 review from Gamespot praises the game’s cheerful aesthetics and its effective gameplay, but complains that the real-time element tends to prioritize simplistic strategies combined with quick reflexes over more complex one and slower ones. Still, you can check out the gameplay video below and make your own judgement. The game is currently on sale at a 25% discount on Steam, Humble Store and Turtle Sandbox’s website.