Review: Cannon Brawl Is An Anarchic Surprise
A chaotic, silly romp of an action-strategy game, Cannon Brawl allows you to rain steampunky destruction on your enemies in a blaze of 2D glory that is best in multiplayer mode.
- Worth The Time?The single-player campaign loses some steam, but multiplayer makes it worth it.
- Things LovedThe ridiculous towers, the friendly rivalry of multiplayer, and the quirky sense of humour in both look and feel.
- Things HatedThe single player campaign isn't too challenging, and is really the weak point of the game all round.
- RecommendationCannon Brawl is good fun, but is probably more of a niche game. If you and some friends all have it, it can be a great game to play competitively with each other.
- Name: Cannon Brawl
- Genre: Action-Strategy / Tower Defense
- Players: Single player campaign
- Multiplayer: Yes
- Platforms: PC, Mac
- Developer: Turtle Sandbox Games
- Publisher: Turtle Sandbox Games
- Price: $14.99
- Reviewed On: PC
Airships. Cannons. Lasers. What else do I need to pique my interest in a game? Cannon Brawl, by Turtle Sandbox games works by being that simple and open on its purpose: blow things up faster than your opponent. It’s a 2D tower defense game with a steampunk (or diesel-punk) inspired style. It isn’t pretending to be any more serious than it sounds, and as a result it is great fun to play. It only needs about 6 keys to work in the first place.
You control your airship, steering around the 2D map, docking with your various buildings in order to activate them. Initially you only have your fortress, where you commission buildings to aid in your total annihilation of your enemy and the surrounding countryside. You control territory within a certain radius around your buildings, and need to expand outward to secure the gold mines that will support your military might. Naturally, however, the real fun is in the towers itself, which you need to place strategically, upgrade when needed, and shield from incoming enemy fire. You win by annihilating your enemy’s main fortress by whatever means necessary.
The game has a 20-level campaign where you play initially as the princess of the kingdom, saving your inept father from your maniacal, inept uncle’s evil military led by a few moronic goons. Naturally, the storyline isn’t any kind of highbrow art, but it really doesn’t need to be; rather it is just a framework around which you shoot missiles and lasers at giant boats. The levels are more a testing ground for you to unlock and try out new things in different terrains. At the end of most levels you unlock new towers or airships, each with their own abilities and uses. Each level also has three medals, one for victory and two for bonus objectives that show your strategic skills: useful actions per minute, and time taken to defeat the opponent. These medals unlock the puzzle levels, which encourage you to think creatively about beating an enemy with the minimal use of ammunition. All of this is really preparation for the multiplayer mode, which is where the game is strongest.
The multiplayer mode feels not unlike the old-school Worms games, but with a more strategic approach. You pit yourself against opponents online or locally, and proceed to rush in order to reign down hell on their head with the arsenal you’ve unlocked in single player mode. These battles can get quite intense, and especially when playing against someone you know the rivalry that develops is another way in which the game becomes a little gem. Here you also gain xp which you can spend on non-unlockable towers and airships, to add more tricks to your strategy.
Artistically, the game’s look supports the slightly silly feel. It has very stylized visuals that support the quirky setting and premise, and juxtapose nicely with the utter destruction you wreak on your enemies. This is another way that the game feels like the classic mayhem action-strategy of the Worms franchise. I mean, how can you take a game seriously with giant lasers, warheads, and ice towers being dropped by a blimp with a massive drilling device for literally undermining your opponent’s plan? This silliness is complemented beautifully by the art, and makes the weird and gently humorous campaign story more fun.