Ultra Space Battle Brawl PC Review

Ultra Space Battle Brawl is Pong for the modern age.

By Daavpuke, Posted 04 Nov 2018

Slapping a new coat of paint on an old classic is a tried and true modus operandi in the game industry. Ultra Space Battle Brawl is such a rework, for none other than the most classic of all classics: Pong. Adding in a bit of Breakout, Windjammers, Street Fighter and a shiny new art style does excite for a moment, even if it is just a moment.

Like Pong, two sides go head to head in Ultra Space Battle Brawl (USBB), except in this case there’s a specific area that needs to be hit behind the player and a life bar that goes associated with it. A wall of chickens protects the life bar area for each player, with the poultry taking a hit or two to clear. From there, it’s a strategic fight between two people batting a ball back and forth.

 

Ultra Space Battle Brawl

 

With an explosive pixel art style, USBB certainly appears colorful, even if the faster pace of the game can sometimes spoils the splendor of the added effects. Color fireworks can be just a tad confusing to follow precisely. The game’s story mode, one of two modes available, adds a few, short illustrations about each of the characters on the roster; about a dozen or so. Other than that, the experience is fairly contained and straightforward: Smack the ball around and don’t get hit.

Each fighter in USBB has a different play style. Some people are strong and slow, while others trade in power for swiftness. Every character also has access to a different ultimate ultra attack that charges over time. From throwing up walls to bounce back the ball, to just creating an orb double or even summoning a horde of flies, most specials are fairly unique and have enough style nuances to require their own unique way to play. In particular, attacks that command more of the limited play area’s real estate are handier, since it’s harder for the ball to hit someone if it can’t go anywhere. An ultra attack can also come with its own mechanism, such as a void that needs to be activated to trap the projectile coming in. It’s best to hang back or counter with another ultra if these attacks get triggered, which benefits the push and pull of the overall game. Characters have free movement over the entire screen and can either be close to the opposing hit area or protect their own, depending on how aggressive the opponent is.

The swift back and forth dynamic works in quite the captivating manner, not letting up for a second and requiring decent reflexes to keep up. Certainly when the ball picks up speed, players will need to use the instant dodge tool to close distances, lest the projectile speed past. Keeping up can be sweaty work, which really helps retain the attention, though it does come with some key issues as well. Given the heightened pace, roster picks with better attack speed just have a natural advantage, since they can cover the small play area more easily by spamming their regular strike. This can cause slower characters to simply not be able to get out of corners and get spammed to all hell.

 

Ultra Space Battle Brawl

 

Worse yet, the ball can get trapped in certain chicken setups, bouncing to and fro between the hit box area, instantly taking multiple ticks off the life bar, if not all points at once. Needless to say, having a ball just stutter someone to death is a frustrating, unsatisfying end to a round. In a best of three, there’s also not a lot of room for retries. And it’s not like the game has much more than this tight core to offer, so any of its flaws are ever present, in every round.

There’s an exciting, cohesive game in Ultra Space Battle Brawl, but at the same time, it will always come with some cheese and not a ton of depth, plus a few choices that just aren’t viable and whittle down the breadth of content even more. This game is colorful and fiery, capable of keeping the fun going for a few hours, for sure. Beyond that verdict, a head to head is the same as it ever was; a test of skill between two people. Despite all the game’s frenetic action, that showdown is still as simple as it is straightforward.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Toge Productions
Developer(s): Mojiken Studio
Genres: Arcade
Themes: Tennis
Release Date: 2018-10-04

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