If you think you recognize Cannon Brawl from having seen it before somewhere, then it’s quite likely you have, considering it actually won Activision’s Independent Games Competition back in 2011 under the name Dstroyd. That old prototype has since had $175,000 pumped into it from that victory, and the result is unquenchably fun to play, plus it looks pretty smart too now.
“Cannon Brawl is the next evolution of the artillery genre! It’s a 2D realtime strategy game with destructible terrain and big explosions!”
Want to find out how fun that might just be? Well, you can as the team behind Cannon Brawl have released the alpha version of the game for free – it’s basically a very good demo. There are six campaign levels within that act like your standard tutorial, and then you can engage in the local multiplayer mode against a human or AI opponent on two different maps. So without further ado, go and download the alpha demo and have a romping good time with it. And, as always, give this bugger a well deserved thumbs-up over on Steam Greenlight!
For those wondering, Cannon Brawl is a action-strategy game – just think of your typical real-time strategy mechanics in a 1v1 scenario and cut out all the boring parts so it’s fast-paced and exciting practically every second. It’s also Worms with airships and static cannons. And yes, that does include the destructible land masses, which is so satisfying to use to your advantage. You’ll be taught this in the tutorial that you should be playing right now, but most games go in a typical sequence. First off, you landgrab by placing hot air balloons around the map so you can build out further. Then you’ll want to place mines where the gold is, before grabbing your first cannon and blowing a hole further down to the diamond for some serious dosh. When possible, you also want to get a radial shield up immediately as this will protect you if the opposing side should have the advantage from being quicker.
After that, you start laying down your cannons, missile launchers and more shields, while always maintaining your mines should they get blown up. Upgrading is then your next priority so that you can do more damage and each of your attacks reaches further – your aim is the enemy’s main base as when that’s gone, you have won. As the cannons get bigger, so do the shields, and so eventually it becomes less about size and more about aiming your missiles in the right places and taking out the right units. If you’re crafty, you may have brought along walker bombs, and these simply go across the ground and blow up either when getting stuck or walking into one of your units. These walk right through shields, so the only way you can stop them is to blast them with a cannon.
Do you see that explosion?! That’s a warhead, and unfortunately, you don’t get access to it in the alpha. But that definitely gives us all something to look forward to! You unlock new weapons by progressing through the campaign, and then obviously you’ll need to generate enough money to buy them during a match. But when firing cannons, re-activating shields, upgrading and replacing units all costs money, it can take a while to get to these more devastating weapons. And in the meantime, your enemy may just whittle you down with weaker cannons but lots of them.
So hopefully you can see the fast-paced strategic thinking that is required to play Cannon Brawl. And that’s only against the AI! Wait until you’re able to start battling against other humans; then things will really start to heat up properly. Cannon Brawl is due for release very shortly, actually, and it should be coming to Xbox Live Arcade, as well as PC, for just $10. Pumped? You bloody well should be.