The Foolish Brave – To Challenge a God is a good looking 2D side scrolling beat’em up action game and if that sounds like a generic description, that’s about as deep as it goes. This is a quick alpha, a prototype, so its still a work in progress, but there’s just not much here more than two short levels and a third if you include the boss fight. The graphics show promise it looks good and there’s nice looking character art. The art used to publicize the game on the Internet isn’t the same art style in the game, but I guess Atari’s box art never reflected what was in the actual game itself.
The backgrounds aren’t nearly as good. At the worst they’re vacant empty black areas and at best they look like they were taken from the original “Another World.” The trees in the background have some parallax scrolling to them, but the issue there is two of the layers are the same. That’s something that can be fixed or even change the color of the trees.
These great graphics suffer, because of how small the game resolution is. The characters are even smaller on such a small resolution, but at least it shows a lot of the area. The Foolish Brave is fixed to a small size that’s perfect for a smart phone, but the problem is, this is a computer game with keyboard controls. Left and right to move, up or space to jump. A to attack, S to block and hold D to charge a special attack. The special attack makes use of a three tiered wait system. Hold it for a second and its charged one block to release one type of special, wait up to three blocks for the largest special attack. Pushing a direction while blocking can send you hurtling toward safety, but in all honesty, I never used the block. It was just easier to beat up the enemies or jump over them to completely avoid them.
There’s nothing wrong with the controls, I just felt they could have been introduced better. The game starts at a campfire scene with your companion explaining the controls. You can do whatever you want to as he’s explaining so you can essentially practice or even skip the tutorial in general. I just would have preferred some sort of tutorial level where I know why I need to attack vs why I need to block or why I need to use a special ability. Especially since I ended up never needing my attack or even block for that matter.
I managed to find what I feel is an exploit. The F key releases a barrage of special attack without having to charge it. It felt overpowered and I plowed through enemies. Even without it, the game was easy enough. All you need to do is dodge enemies. There are a few different enemies, bats that have odd flight patterns. Beasts that walk at you, just like female enemies that only walk at you. There’s a knight that defends against your attacks, but using a special attack gets through his shield even if it doesn’t break the shield outright. A centenarian archer fires arrows the have a gravity to their arrows makes things interesting and shows promise. All of these enemies felt like while they knew where I was, they just couldn’t follow me. None of them could climb up after me, even if I was a few pixels over them.
The boss is a giant monster that first you run away from, before you fight him. The fact that it bluntly warns me I need to run is a good design choice, since everything prior to it had been mortal. The first few times I fought him, I managed to glitch him in a few ways. I was able to leave him behind where I found myself stuck in the small arena unable to escape. There is no pause or restart to The Foolish Brave, so I had to restart the program. The second glitch stuck him in place and he was able to kill me by touching him. When I finally killed him after the chase, it felt like he couldn’t damage me at all.
Your character can take a good amount of damage. At first the edges of the screen get red before the screen itself starts to turn black and white. I feel like this effect would be more noticeable if it was on a higher resolution. Every death restarts the short levels so it was pretty forgiving. I’d love to see different levels of difficulty if not a score system with lives for tougher, less casual difficulties. The Brave Hero could really fit into the 90s style side scroller genre.
The game’s challenge wasn’t staying alive so much as it was jumping over death pits in the second level. The space key works better with the arrows than using the up key. I would have appreciated an additional level, because this game just felt quick and rushed. Ending a level by walking off screen seemed to have the camera move down as if I had fallen off a platform. The first level even fell through the ground to end it. You can stand on top of some enemies, when I’m not sure that you’re supposed to. The knight is cool with me standing on his head.
There are other glitches too, such as hearing an echo of the game’s name when first starting the game. “The Foolish The Brave Foolish – To Brave Challenge – To a Challenge God a God.” Yet after completing the game, it manages to correctly say the game’s name with no echo. Having the game’s name said, did make it feel like a throwback to days of the arcades, which I enjoyed.
The music is a high point, it feels very at home with 90s style consoles and has a nice beat to it. The sound effects are less impressive, but they can be changed out too. The attack swipes and fist blows are spot on though.
With everything said, all of this can be changed and fixed in time. Its just that these three short levels didn’t exactly leave me wanting more. Nor was I dazzled at the possibilities of what a future could bring. I’d prefer more content, less jumping over pits if not more abilities to really show itself off. There aren’t that many frills here that have become staples of the genre. Right now the game just feels simple and generic with a lot of bugs and glitches. The Foolish Brave should not have been released in this state, but because of its graphics and music, I’d like it to get better.