Life is strange but so is this brigade of funky misfits. Strange Brigade a cooperative third person shooter video game developed and published by Rebellion Developments focused both on puzzle solving and pushing back mythological creatures back to their graves. Strange enough despite the norm of shooting baddies, what makes Strange Brigade stand out is the over-the-top weapon customization to tear down mummies one limb at a time and the use of well-placed traps at your disposal.
A game inspired by many cooperative shooters like Left 4 Dead but tackles it in a much slower pace during the main campaign of the game in order for players to have enough time to activate traps or make tactical decisions once huge hordes comes crawling out of the woodwork. While the game itself is set to be a cooperative game, playing with your lonesome self is still very much doable but not as fun when other people are involved.
Four thousand and god knows how many seconds ago, Sahara Africa was ruled by the brutal and barbaric queen Seteki. But as her people became dissatisfied with her rule, they overthrew Seteki and sealed her in a nameless tomb. Yet in 1930, archeologist Edgar Harbin discovered her tomb and released the spirit within. Now it is up to the Strange Brigade, a group of Secret Service agents sent by the British colonial government to eliminate the threat while rummaging around for gold and riches to fill their coffers. Packed with dismembering mummies, minotaurs, skeletons, pirates and other mythological creatures, it’s time to grab your weapon of choice and arm it with special gems while collecting souls to charge your amulet for devastating attacks against the horde.
The 1930’s is a strange place to set a game but that didn’t stop anyone from doing it. Gameplay-wise, it’s pretty simple… pick a character to use with each one having different sets of usable amulets but weaponry can be used by anyone. Once you’ve settled in, beat the crap out of everything that moves, explore the levels for hidden secrets and gain gold or gems used to enhance a weapon’s capabilities while also looking out for hints of cat statues to score more loots at the end of the level. The start of the main campaign, however, feels slow and boring and only picks up the pace after a few levels in once more enemy types are introduced to give you that sort of danger you won’t feel from slowly walking corpses just waiting to get dismembered. Each and every level is armed with different ways to kill hordes but at the same time feel repetitive as you get entrapped over and over again while being forced to fight off hordes of enemies. But what makes it fun to do is obtaining overpowered weapons from a chest but at a cost! These overpowered weapons are armed to the brim with firepower or special traits like exploding crossbow bolts, ricocheting bullets or flamethrowers for maximum effect. Although unlike regular weapons you can buy with gold, these weapons disappear when depleted and can’t be loaded with more ammo. Luckily, there are multiple chests in a level to let you experience firepower like never before.
Level design is amazing while graphics are simply breathtaking! There’s a lot of nook and crannies to get you lost but at the same time easy enough to find your way again. How does that even work? Technically while the levels itself come out as linear, there’s a couple of times you’d be choosing where to go just to find the hidden puzzles for amazing loots. Going back and forth can sometimes be a lot of work but truly worth the effort once you get a gem or even complete relic sets to get a skill point or two which is used exclusively for obtaining new amulets. And while the main campaign is rather short it does, however, gave enough of a challenge to give you a run for your money and provided some interesting boss fights to keep you on your feet. A quirky narrator is always an added bonus too!
But once you do finish the main story, there will always be more things to do, a bit more weapons to purchase, and uncompleted relic sets to hunt for. Horde and Score Attack are two more ways in which you’re free to blast them bunnies… I mean mummies! Horde being more of a wave-based mode in which you start off with a handgun and an area in which you need to survive on. And similar to the main campaign, killing enemies gives you coins to purchase better weapons to survive a lot longer especially when more types of enemies drop in. Score Attack, however, follows a timed mode in which speed and fast combos give you better points. Beating a linear level is fast and fun which is my game mode of choice any day of the week. The entire run starts off with your equipped weapon from playing the campaign but can immediately do a 360 once you find that chest filled with OP weapons to clear a wave of enemies faster. Time to complete is short but unlike campaign and horde, it’s absolutely paced faster which is just the right amount to make it fun and at the same time, chaotic.
Overall, the game is a mixed bag of fun and mayhem whether alone or in a party. Puzzle solving itself is easy enough to keep you moving forward without having to pause for a guide. The boss battles are fun and somewhat chaotic which makes it really good while the environment is a sight to behold. I can imagine it drawing a lot of audiences just itching for some cooperative horde shooting fiesta which is always fun to see. A recommended game in my book!