Games with Gold has given us two Disney games back to back this year. The first being the interesting yet flawed racer Split Second, and now a true ‘Disney’ game in that it is based off of Pixar’s Brave. Brave: The Video Game is better than most licensed platformers, but that is not a high bar to clear. That it is playable and has some fun moments means it is already better than 90% of the other licensed dreck out there. It will not however be a game that you long to play day in and day out.
In order to gamify Merida’s story, Behaviour Interactive had to change a lot of Brave’s plot. Instead of roaming about with Merida’s mother bear looking for a way to undo the spell, Merida now knows exactly what she has to do, and that is to use a variety of arrow and sword types to clear out all the blighted creatures from her father’s kingdom. Then the Witch’s magic will work properly again, and she will be able to change Merida’s mother back. Merida will also get help from her Mother and her brothers from time to time.
At first I thought Brave would just have a lazy hack and slash mechanic that would allow kids to button spam their way through this game, and it can probably still be played that way by exclusively using the sword and setting the game on easy, but the arrows are much more fun. They shoot by just aiming the right analog stick the way you want to shoot. In other words, Brave: The Video Game is a twin stick shooter/platformer, and in the moments when they are throwing a lot of different enemies at you and you are constantly changing arrow types to do the most damage, it is a lot of fun. Even more fun, it has co-op where one person plays Merida and one person plays a giant wisp. A wisp with Merida’s powers and equipment, so it is great for a parent to play with a younger child. Which is what I am doing right now.
Unfortunately, it falls down in most other areas. The graphics are fine, but dark and muddy, and everything looks the same. There is no real gameplay variety. You will jump from one place to the next, and then once you get to a purple ‘blighted’ area, you will shoot all the spawning monsters. Clear that and you will jump around some more. You will do this around eight times then finish the game.
Listen, Brave: The Video Game is a game for kids and their parents to play together, and it works rather well as Timmy’s first twin stick shooter, but once you are done with it, I don’t think you will go back for more. The ‘hidden’ items are all easy to find and get to, and the game itself is quite easy, but if your daughter loves Merida and playing video games, it is worth downloading to show her how to make a blue orb shoot arrows all over the place.