If there’s anything I like about video games, it’s when there’s video game tie-ins to movies or TV shows. Most of the time, they get a small developer to make a crappy $60 game on a shoestring budget that’s usually long forgotten. Other times, they’re just dinky games made in Flash as a brief tie-in to an upcoming movie, such as the “Hollywood Hellfire” tie-in for This is The End. Then there’s the times where they go all out and make full-fledged free games, such as a Quake mod for some forgotten show called Soldier of Fortune Inc, made by the guy who would later go on to make They Hunger for Half-Life.
Thus, when I heard about this, I got legitimately excited:
Broforce: The Expendables Missions, aka Expendabros is a genius idea: Take the goofy machoness of Devolver Digital and Free Lives’ Broforce and combine it with an upcoming film — The Expendables 3 in this case — and you got this amazing movie tie-in. Expendabros is freely available to play, and Broforce is not required to own this. In a sense, this is a good extended demo of for Broforce.
Since I had yet to play Broforce, I was skeptical with this game. I’m not one for games with pixel art styles since they’re very overdone, but if it compliments the gameplay like in Hotline Miami, I can let it slide. In this case, it definitely works in Broforce‘s favor.
Broforce is a mash of action platformers like Bionic Commando, with the violent action of Metal Slug and Contra. You have one life and three special items by default, with each “bro” having its own signature weapon and special. You get more lives by saving your bros in cages, and rescuing enough bros unlocks an additional bro character to play as. Run out of lives and you’re sent back to the last major checkpoint.
The plot to Expendabros is a loose recreation of The Expendables 3: Barney Ross — here called “Broney Ross” — and his crew of Expendables has to stop Conrad Stonebanks from destroying the Expendables, who will destroy them by any means necessary.
Much like Broforce, Ross must shoot and explode his way through enemies while saving his bros, eventually finding the commander or boss of the level before making a dramatic explosive escape. As you go through the game’s ten levels, you fight more powerful enemies, and even ridiculous areas like rooms with saw blades and rocket turrets everywhere. At one point, you fight this guy:
All the Bros in this game are based off the respective Expendables character, but with a “Bro” pun in it. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Trench Mauser character becomes “Trent Broser,” Terry Crews’ Hale Caesar is “Bro Caesar,” you get the idea. Not all the Expendables in The Expendables 3 are in Expendabros, but there’s exaggerated versions of Schwarzenegger, Crews, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, and Wesley Snipes. That covers all the 1980s-2000s action heroes that matter in my book.
The art style perfectly compliments the game, the game itself is easy to get into, and it even has four-player co-op, which makes this game even more awesome. (Brosome?) If there’s anything negative I could say about Expendabros is that this game is clearly built for a gamepad. The default keyboard controls use the arrow keys, which are not at all comfortable for any sort of platforming game, especially in 2014. A lot of times I couldn’t see what killed me amidst the chaos, and the last level being a chase section was a real ball-buster. However, these are minor complaints, these shouldn’t make or break your decision to play it.
If you haven’t bought Broforce yet, Expendabros is a great demo. They were originally gonna pull this at the end of 2014, but as of 2020 the game is still freely available to play on Steam. Seeing the movie is not a requirement, as I’ve only seen the first two films.
After playing Expendabros, it makes me want to play Broforce so bad. It’s got the right amount of dumb action to it that it’s enjoyable and action packed. It’s definitely better than the game they released for the previous Expendables film. Now that’s something to write about.