I admit it – I have a big soft spot for indie games. Call me weird, but I can't get enough of these low-budget beauties because they're forced to innovate using the limited resources that they have and can create genius new mechanics, or simply refine existing systems to perfection.
Anyway, I've already written an article about that (hint hint), so today, I'm all about Broforce and Action Henk – two games that came out on the PlayStation 4 this month, and two games that I believe could easily end up being among my favourites of 2016 once the year comes to an end. Not only do these two games confidently flaunt their own visual and gameplay styles, but they're also good ol' fashioned fun.
Broforce absolutely excels in this respect, plastering a big, dumb smile over my chiselled, Adonis-like (I hope) face. This game is absolutely stupid fun: explosions fill the screen in every mission, suicide bombers constantly charge at you, screaming enemies fall out of their rubble-filled hideouts, destructible terrain crumbles everywhere, and copious amounts of testosterone flow throughout.
The huge variation of – sigh – Bros in the game is what makes it so interesting; it makes Broforce surprisingly tactical for a title of its ilk. Every character plays differently, sporting their own abilities and weapons – there's Rambro's machine gun, Macbrover's dynamite, Brodator's spears, Brade's blade, Cherry Broling's gunboots – and switching between Bros means that you have to constantly change the way that you play, keeping you on your broes and ensuring that the gameplay stays fresh. There are over 30 of them, too, so it rarely gets stale.
It's got so much charisma in it, too, combining nostalgia from 80s pop culture and games, as well as hefty dose of Team America-esque satire, yet it's not in the game for the hell of it – I wasn't even alive in the 80s and I can't get enough. Broforce plays out as a refined and polished run-and-gun of old, and its fully destructible worlds mean that you can tunnel under and around enemies with ease.
The atmosphere that this game creates is one so mad that Tim Curry's SPACE monologue would be a feasible event. Everything from the extremely enthusiastic announcer to the excellent mission briefings – featuring countries such as Irakistan, Youkraine, and Cambrodium – are an excellent mix of the aforementioned satire and macho movie star culture.
The same can be said for Action Henk. It takes a very old formula (in this case, the first few Sonic the Hedgehog games) and expands upon it, adding in new features where they're needed, yet still keeping the essence of the past at heart. I'm sure that you're all skeptical that this is on par with the legendary hedgehog's classics, but the movement and momentum in Action Henk feels so responsive, so satisfying, that there's never a moment of frustration; if you die, it's never the game's fault – it's only yours.
Satisfaction is the name of the game here, in that finding the best path through a level and finally getting that gold medal that you've been chasing just feels good. It's the little things like jumping earlier that make the big difference in this game, and few other titles will give you as good a feeling as Action Henk does.
Everything seems so perfectly tuned, too – hitting the restart button puts you right back into the action, rather than pausing for a couple of seconds meaning that your game isn't interrupted, and the pulsing, fast-paced music is the perfect accompaniment. Every character's modular, slightly creepy look fits in with game's toy commercial aesthetic, and I'm sure that, were there to be a new 2D Sonic game made, it wouldn't hurt to take a leaf out of Action Henk's plastic, battered, baby saliva-covered book.
Have any of you been playing Broforce or Action Henk? Do you think that they're brolliant, or should they just go Indie Bin? MacGyver a witty retort in the comments below.