Ultra Space Battle Brawl is a mash up of legendary game franchises, but in a way that you wouldn't expect. Is this zany combination fun to play or have things gone too far?
Ultra Space Battle Brawl or USBB at its heart is pong, but ramped up to 100. The basis is still the same where you have to knock the ball on to the opponents side while defending your own, however USBB adds a few extra quirks that makes matches a lot more interesting and a lot more adrenaline fueled.
Instead of a standard goal post that you need to get the ball past, USBB takes this a step further by having you not only destroy several chicken guards that are based on your character, but also a diamond on the opponent's side. Once this is done, that particular round would be over and you are greeted with an animation of your opponent being knocked away in hilarious fashion.
This is switched up further depending on the stage you choose. All stages are based in space and the most basic look is based on 'Earth', however other stages such as 'Jupiter' will heavily change the layout to add even more of a challenge. This can involve having more than one diamond to protect or hazards that can assist you in your victory or demise. I tend to stay away from the hazard stages as I found them a bit of a nuisance during critical moments, but for general play, they can be a lot of fun.
Taking part in these matches are a variety of characters that have their own set of skills and this can be seen on the mini chart beneath them. This allows for you to play the way you want to, whether you would like to be zipping around the stage really fast or want to make sure your returns have a lot of power behind them.
Each character also has access to their own Ultra move. This is gained by building your meter during a match. Once its full, you will start to glow and can activate the mode. It only lasts a little while and can make a big difference, especially if you are on the losing end. I've found that certain Ultra's are lot more useful than others which can make some games a little one sided, such as the wall that ? character can create or double ball that ? character can send your way.
You are also able to dash as well, helping you get back to your zone quickly to defend a shot or follow up the ball to surprise your opponent.
USBB includes a story mode which essentially acts as an arcade ladder of sorts. You go up against several opponents until you hit the final boss. Defeating the boss means that you are presented with that character's ending, but oh boy it won't be easy to get there. At one point you will be handicapped and this is where I believe the skill gap shows. If you can get beyond this and get past a boss that can pretty much use any Ultra, then I tip my hat to you.
While its cool that we get some backstories, they weren't particularly engaging and I feel that it was a missed opportunity to establish that universe which to be honest, has a really interesting premise, yet nothing is really done with it. There is also a gallery to view unlocked artwork
It seems that the game was designed in mind for couch co op and while I am a gamer from a generation that is all for this type of play, I feel like having some online functionality would have benefited it greatly. Imagine ranking as the strongest USBB brawler or organising an online tournament. I hope this is something that is added later down the line as it can expand the overall experience greatly.
One of the aspects of the game that drew me in was its artwork which reminded me of the old school Street Fighter titles. This was further confirmed by the opening animation which heavily parodied Ryu's Super Street Fighter 2 intro with Djarwani taking his place and lets not forget the soundtrack, which I found myself bopping my head to on more then one occasion.
USBB is a fast paced title that is essentially easy to pick up, but can be difficult to master. The gameplay is fun and enjoyable, more so when playing with friends and the overall look throws me back to a different time. If online ever became a factor, I would be completely up for it and if this can ever reach tournament play, well sign me up.
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