Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brand - Demo Impressions

Brand is a 2D hack'n slash indie game that can be found on Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace (XBLIGM). This swords & sorcery themed adventure game was developed by Nine Dots Studio and released February 2, 2012 and retails for 80 MSP. Its clear to me after playing so many XBLIGs i can spot a quality title just by playing a short demo. Brand is quality so there is our start.

Brand has main menus of Story, Buy Now, Options, Tips, Credits and Exit. The button layout for Brand via the Xbox 360 gamepad: LS-move, Back-map, Start-pause, X-quick attack, Y-heavy attack, A-jump, B-dash attack and LT and RT-block. Brand is a action hack'n slash game that takes place on 2D levels. The controls are adequate while jumping, blocking and hacking away was pretty effective on monsters. I really didn't have any gripes with the controls.

The story of Brand is about a Sword you have to upgrade given to you by your commander. To upgrade this sword you must acquire gold from defeating monsters. After you have slain enough monsters in either Necropolis, Castle or Mine districts you can go back to the Blacksmith for upgrades. You can refine, strengthened or sharpen your blade. You shouldn't get confused as to what to do next since there are objectives you can keep track of. Other sections of Brand's worldmap include Mage and Chemist sections.
Image from Brand
Brand has an impressive presentation for an indie game. The visual artsyle creates a lore of its own practically. The in-game graphics as well the comicbook style cutscenes exude quality. The writing was acceptable, nothing special. I really liked the animation system while hacking away at monsters in 2D. The protagonist as well the monsters moved with some good fluidity. Monsters ranged from flying to walking to just laying there shooting goo at you. The level design in some of the areas were decent. You had to search for levers to access more of the area while battling monsters.

The combat in Brand was visceral but not perfect. If your not perfect with your block timing the monsters can and will take a big chunk of your health off. I like how you can jump in and out of levels after you acquired enough gold to upgrade your sword. Although i didn't get to enhance my sword in the demo it is possible with special materials you can collect. The music was decent and the sound design good. The atmosphere was pretty engaging in the demo and makes you want to keep playing. Maybe i should just say Brand is addicting huh? You can also play as your avatar which is a nice perk. Who doesn't like looking at themselves kill monsters?

Brand is a quality XBLIG judging from the demo. It has fun addicting hack' n slash gameplay with an interesting world to explore filled with monsters. Thanks for reading. Check it out

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