It hasn’t been that long since Vampire Survivors first stormed onto the gaming scene to create an entirely “new” genre that’s also now trending with dozens of games wanting to cash in on the hype.
Brotato does little to change up the formula, but the way it has balanced a large variety of characters with meaningful and interesting ways to build them is something that any fan of the genre should experience. Find out why in our review down below:
Platforms: Windows PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Price: $4.99 USD
As already mentioned, Brotato doesn’t shake up the genre in any way. What one expects from “Vampire Survivor-likes”, which I’ll refer to as roguelite survival games, is here. This involves a top-down, confined arena where the player’s potatoes have to navigate around aliens trying to kill them.
There are a variety of weapons, categorized between ranged and melee, that can be bought between waves in randomly generated shops. Player stats can be upgraded and/or downgraded by items in said shop alongside the standard level up rewards.
While not groundbreaking, it is all well done with multiple ways for players to approach and find their favorite styles among the dozen of unique potatoes. These potatoes usually also have different ways to building them, so there’s ways to beat harder difficulties easily as well as ways to find challenges.
One area separating Brotato to more popular games in the genre would be the lack of stat based meta progression. This means there is no grinding up stats by going through various runs. Each new run is a brand new start for players.
However, there are items and some weapons to unlock by winning a run using a specific potato. Even most potatoes themselves have requirements in order to unlock them that are simply explained and usually easy to achieve.
Along with these unlocks is the difficult levels referred to as “danger levels”. The game begins with 0 and works its way up to 5 with all the added challenges expected from new enemies types, special waves, and extra bosses.
All of this adds considerable replayability for a wide range of players. Coupled in with “accessibility” options that can further lower or even increase the strength of enemies, this means that a lot of people can have an experience they prefer.
But having a ton of content means nothing if the core gameplay loop is not fun. Fortunately, Brotato’s main gameplay is addicting with that constant itch of doing just one more run after each victory or defeat.
Movement is smooth and there is a level of skill required during the early to mid stages of a run in dodging enemies or positioning yourself to do the most damage. Things are fair and most deaths can be blamed mainly on poor decisions rather than bad RNG.
That’s not to say RNG can’t be a runkiller, as that is a staple in any game that relies on any amount of chance over that of player agency. But once players learn more about the systems in play, decisions they make early on will pay off strongly towards the end of each run.
Brotato is a well made game, but it’s not without its faults. While options are varied and players can find playstyles they prefer in the dozens of characters to select, there is a strong meta towards making the same decisions in each run to succeed.
There’s also no ways to get a specific item to show up when doing a run. While this won’t end a run, it would’ve been nice to try out some theories as a means to experiment for fun even if not trying to go far.
Finally there’s the presentation, or lack thereof. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, most of how the game looks is good and the music, while only holding a few tracks, is pleasant to the ear as you focus on dodging attacks.
There’s just little charm attempted to be added to help make this game standout in the growing sea of roguelite survival titles out there. Considering Blobfish’s past games, it feels like they just slapped on their theme of potatoes in a cheap spin off.
Thankfully these are only minor issues to complain about for a game that easily holds dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of fun gameplay. Those who have already played a ton of roguelite survival games and love them will find fun challenges and interesting ways to explore with Brotato.
It isn’t just veterans of the genre that’ll love this game either. Anyone interested and looking for their first foray into the genre should absolutely consider this as a first pick. The lack of meta progression means less grinding and more time spent on learning the mechanics that’ll translate into other games.
The only people who shouldn’t play Brotato are those who hate the genre for whatever reason. Everyone else should definitely give Brotato a shot.
Brotato is available now for Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, and PC (via Steam).