Developer: DarkScreen Games
Publisher: Merge Games
Genre: Fighting, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 10/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
From what I can tell from the excellently animated introduction, Bounty Battle brings a whole host of iconic Indie stars into battle. A strange portal appears in each of their worlds, dragging our heroes into a void and bringing them to another world entirely. There, a bounty is placed on each of their heads, and each character must fight to claim the bounties on each other.
If a character falls in battle, the winner can call upon a unique minion to assist them in future battles. It’s a pretty wafer-thin story that’s never really mentioned again. However, the introduction looks fantastic and seeing some of these recognisable Indie faces is very cool to witness – plus the music isn’t half bad either.
Single player – modes
Upon starting Bounty Battle, you are bought to a menu with only a few options available. The Single player option consists of 4 modes including a tutorial:
Tournament mode: This is the main mode in the game and sees you playing as one of 30 characters from the roster, all trying to compete for 5 objectives each. These involve either killing all of your enemies or surviving without dying. In turn, this unlocks 5 additional costumes for each character, meaning there are about 150 costumes in all. A little crown indicates successful completion of these next to them.
However, this mode locks all 30 characters behind a quite arduous task of competing for each objective of a random character before getting to a character you want to unlock skins for. It’s a shame and makes the process of unlocking extra skins a long one.
That being said, you can go straight to 5th objective and defeat the boss character to move on to the next character. But it seems a little pointless to have a progress system where you can skip most of the content and makes me question what the point of having all characters locked in the first place – possibly to make things last longer perhaps is?
As well as this, the difficulty spikes as you progress and most objectives require you not to die, and that’s easier said than done. As enemy characters tend to take less damage as you progress, sometimes you have handicaps which I found annoying. I’ve only unlocked a small portion of costumes so far as a result.
Challenge mode: This is just a survivor mode where you continuously fight one character after another in quick succession – sometimes you’ll even fight the same character multiple times which is weird, it’s the least fun mode I’ve played in my opinion.
Training room: Pretty self-explanatory as it’s a mode to practice with all characters.
And finally, there’s a local mode which is your typical versus mode. You can play with all 30 characters, change costumes, add CPU characters to the mix or friends locally. Sadly, there’s no online Multiplayer.
You can also change settings such as the difficulty level, handicap, and select from one of 16 stages all taken from different Indie titles. You can also change the game modes from health bar, counter and time matches as well as a few other options like rounds and power-ups – it’s a mode I played the most.
One of my biggest gripes here is the controls feel stiff and unresponsive sometimes, which can make the fighting feel a little slow. There is also a slight lag to inputs. Movement is tied to the left analogue stick, you jump with A button, and can do an extra jump for more height. Defensive abilities are all tied to the B button; different direction yields different results.
A light attack is completed with the Y button, with a stronger charge attack done by pressing down Y again – different direction results in different attacks. The x button is the special move, and pressing the ZR trigger allows you to use your secondary special move. The final super move is tied to Y, X buttons and requires, like all special abilities, energy which can be seen below your health bar in the form of blue orbs.
There is one final ability available: once you kill enough enemies, you gain a bounty on your head and others. If you successfully kill enough enemies, you can use bounty points to call a minion to the stage to assist you. This is a cool feature that isn’t explained very well. Sometimes it can be hard to understand what each minion can do as there’s no individual move-set on-screen or information on any of the characters available at this point. Moves can sometimes feel impactful, and other times you’re not sure what’s happening – it’s a shame as there is so much potential here that hasn’t been realised yet.
One of the best features in-game is the ability to play as one of the 30 indie heroes from games like Dead Cells, Blasphemous, Battle Chasers, Flint hook, Oddmar, and Steam World Dig to name a few.
Character models look fantastic in my opinion and look like a lot of time was spent making them look like the characters you know and love. I wonder if a little too much time has been spent on them than the actual game, modes, and UI?
There is no online multiplayer here, the menus feel clunky to navigate, and the general look of the game feels a little underwhelming. Dare I say unfinished.
Considering how excellent the intro is and the incredible cast of heroes, it’s a shame that the rest of the game has suffered from poor implementation and a lack of polish.
Graphics and sound
Graphics for the character models look great: each has been lovingly crafted and represented well. Stages though are too dark, at times, which is a shame. I quite like the music, there’s a lot of tunes to listen to, but I feel there is still a lot of room for improvement.
I wanted to love Bounty Battle as there is so much potential here. I have seen posts on the official Bounty Battle Twitter page that the Developers want to continue to support and make the game better and that’s positive in my books.
But as it stands, for £19.99, Bounty Battle is far from perfect and pretty expensive for the content on offer at the moment. If you love Indie characters then maybe it’s a risk worth taking on a promise that one day it will be better. I hope the Developers can achieve this and make Bounty Battle a success in the future!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Bounty Battle from the Nintendo eShop.