I’ve been a big fan of the Worms series ever since I was a youngster, so Cannon Brawl’s familiar take on the destructive style of gameplay appealed to me from the get-go. Chaotic and strategic 2D showdowns across destructible battlefields where players look to wipe each other out? Yeah, count me in. Whilst similar in style though, Cannon Brawl is much more than a Worms imitator. Sure, the gameplay mechanics are similar, but with the RTS-style base building elements and the real-time battling, there is a lot more to this frantic title than might initially meet the eye.
Check out a gallery of screenshots for the game down below:
Cannon Brawl puts players into the role of the captain of an airship as they look to defend their castle from an array of attacks from rival players. Everything takes place across a variety of 2D landscapes, with each bringing with them different areas for players to expand their base. Some of these areas are more valuable than others though, with them containing resources that can be gathered – it’s up to the player to build mines here in order to increase their inventory. The benefits of increasing your inventory? Well, you’ll get to improve your defences of course, with countless cannon-equipped towers able to be established across your ever-expanding base in order to try and protect your castle and, of course, destroy your enemy’s. It’s called Cannon Brawl for a reason, you know…
It’s a simple formula that will be familiar to anyone who has played an RTS before, but its use in a game like this feels much more unique. It’s incredibly hectic too, with your rival’s base on full-show as you play; it adds this sense of urgency to the action, where you’ll not only be competing to gather resources, but also ensure that the strength of your army matches theirs. It’s one of those games that’s easy to pick-up-and-play, but that will take some satisfying strategic thinking to master.
“It’s incredibly hectic, with your rival’s base on full-show as you play; it adds this sense of urgency to the action, where you’ll not only be competing to gather resources, but also ensure that the strength of your army matches theirs.”
There are plenty of things players have to consider when building their base. For one, they can only work within a specified region, with hot air balloons initially having to be dispatched if players want to expand their land. Resource-management needs to be carefully planned out too, with the player having to balance out both their offensive and defensive capabilities. It’s all well and good having a powerful cannon to blast foes with, but it’ll be helpless without a shield to protect it. It makes for a balancing act where the player always has to be on their toes and prepared for everything, especially since their rivals will have access to the same weaponry as them.
The airship you’re flying is more than a gimmick, with players expected to navigate the battlefield and go hands-on when building or improving their arsenal. Cannon Brawl doesn’t give players much time to sit around carefree in the game, with them having to be constantly on the move to ensure their base is in top shape. Different ship pilots bring with them different perks too, so there’s variety and flexibility to be found in their use.
“Cannon Brawl doesn’t give players much time to sit around carefree in the game, with them having to be constantly on the move to ensure their base is in top shape.”
Players will also have to fly between their different towers in order to upgrade and, more importantly, use their weaponry. This is where Cannon Brawl’s similarities with Worms really shine through, with the player setting the power and trajectory of each weapon as they try to line up the perfect shot. It’ll take some practice and a bit of finesse to hit your target, but when you do nail it? It’s incredibly rewarding. The different weaponry that each tower comes equipped with can prove more effective in different situations too, so there’s a decent amount of variety to be found as you battle with foes. Sure, there’s nothing quite as exciting as the Banana Bomb or Holy Hand Grenade, but Cannon Brawl’s arsenal is certainly destructive.
Again, like Worms, you don’t necessarily have to hit the target perfectly to deliver some hurt, with collateral damage on the land also causing harm to your enemies. This can work to your advantage; why take out a shielded unit when you can just destroy the land under it? It adds an additional tactical nuance to Cannon Brawl that the more experienced players will want to take advantage of to find the most success in the game.
“Whilst the single player campaign gives you the chance to learn the ins-and-outs of Cannon Brawl’s simple but intuitive mechanics, it’s when playing with others online that your skills will REALLY be tested.”
Everything comes together nicely to make for an experience that’s strategic and frantic, but also incredibly rewarding in design. Putting together the perfect base and then demolishing a foe never stopped being fun, though the intense battles that go right down to the wire stood out as highlights of the game too. It’s offers an addictive gameplay loop that’s easy to get completely hooked into.
Best of all, it can all be enjoyed in multiplayer. Whilst the single player campaign gives you the chance to learn the ins-and-outs of Cannon Brawl’s simple but intuitive mechanics, it’s when playing with others online that your skills will REALLY be tested. I’ve played a good few skirmishes with friends so far, and honestly, they’ve shown just how destructive, chaotic, and enjoyable the game’s battling can really be. If you’ve got a friend to play Cannon Brawl with, you’re definitely in for a good time. With twenty single player missions and additional puzzle levels to play through though, the single player experience will offer hours of enjoyment too.
Cannon Brawl is simple in design, but its destructive gameplay loop and tactical battling offer an experience that’s exciting, strategic, and a lot of fun. There was something incredibly rewarding about putting together the perfect base and then dismantling your opponent’s with a series of well-aimed cannon shots, ESPECIALLY when playing online with a friend.
It wasn’t a game that was on my radar before release, but I’ve found myself completely hooked. It amalgamates a string of ideas into one unique experience and it makes for a really good time. Whilst the fast pace of the action might stress out some players, I have no doubt that those who appreciate non-stop strategic battling will enjoy the intensity that Cannon Brawl brings.
Developer: Temple Gates Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC