Brigador is an effort from Stellar Jockey and Gausswerks that offers a retro style, real-time strategy combat experience. You are on the Human colony of Solo Nobre and your purpose is to cause destruction in the wake of the rise of a dictatorship on the colony, and aiding the rebelling faction.
The first thing that presents itself when you begin playing is the clunky controls. Getting used to using A and D to rotate your combat unit and W and S to move is cumbersome and frustrating. You can use E to automatically rotate the unit to move in the direction the mouse is pointing but that involves holding down W and E constantly in order to move in a fluid fashion. These controls make the real-time aspect of the game feel very sluggish. Having said that the flying units do move more fluidly than the ground units, so any missions utilizing those units tend to feel a lot smoother and drag a lot less.
The combat itself is mediocre due to the peculiar controls and lack of variation in enemies. The environments themselves are constructed well enough, with each level offering a sufficient amount of variation from the previous level to make traversing each mission interesting enough to keep plugging away at a few missions. Sadly the combat and controls do make continuing for more than a short amount of time feel fairly arduous. Even the units that control more fluidly than others are still a bit of a struggle to maneuver and the experience generally just feels like an effort with no real purpose.
Difficulty spikes occur very suddenly. The first three missions are fairly easy, but after that the combat suddenly becomes much more difficult. Unfortunately the difficulty rises through the game by pretty much just throwing loads of units at you and the screen becomes a confusing mass of bullets and tiny tanks. Persevering and restarting levels after dying does start to lead to some headway being made but generally the repetitiveness is not very enjoyable.
Unfortunately the overall aim of the game is also completely un-compelling. The objectives for each mission feel arbitrary and shoe-horned in with each mission mostly just feeling like a platform for destroying as many things as possible and then collecting the objective as a side aim. The missions do not support the back story at all and the two elements quickly become very disconnected.
Brigador's graphics are done in a style that emulates retro graphics but the game simply looks dated and the overall appearance of the environments feels poorly constructed. It's easy to see what they were trying to achieve with the graphical style but they have missed the mark, leaving the game simply feeling lackluster.
The soundtrack for Brigador is great and potentially the only real redeeming feature of a game that is otherwise lacking on all other fronts. Voice acting is extremely minimal and sounds rather haphazard, but the sound track helps to quickly gloss over the unprofessional sound of the voice acting.
With regards to the options menu all the usual graphical and control options are available and the menu itself has a lovely UI that is well thought out.
It's sad that Brigador feels lacking on so many fronts because all of the elements are present to make it a potentially good game. Unfortunately each element is just simply missing something, leaving me with a game that was a chore to play and a game that felt completely un-inspired and frankly, overall, ill thought out.