Brawlhalla, Ubisoft's popular fighting title that takes heavy inspiration from the iconic Super Smash Bros series, has finally made its way to Android and iOS. Remarkably, much of its charm survived the porting process. The graphics are just as vivid as on PC and console, all the game modes and characters are present, and there's even a battle pass that offers hundreds of reasons to keep coming back. And although its touchscreen controls aren't the best way to experience Brawlhalla, the core experience is wholly intact when playing with a controller.
First released in 2017, Brawlhalla has continued to thrive thanks to frequent updates, crossovers with popular franchises, and - above all - enjoyable gameplay that caters to players of all skill levels. You can choose from 50+ legends before hitting the battlefield, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Like many free-to-play games with large rosters, you won't have instant access to all the characters but will instead see a weekly rotation of eight free Legends. You can permanently unlock your favorites just by playing and earning gold, then using that gold to purchase them using the in-game shop. Or, if you're less patient, they're always available if you're willing to throw down real cash.
Characters can be further customized through unlockable items, skins, and color palettes, but many of these are locked behind a paywall - after all, it is a free-to-play title. Fortunately, microtransactions are limited to cosmetics only, and Brawlhalla is very much not pay-to-win. Anyone who drops real cash might have some cool looking Legends, but that never translates to a gameplay advantage.
All the 20+ game modes from the PC and console versions make an appearance on iOS and Android, along with their Unranked, Ranked, and Offline variations. Crossplay is also fully supported, which is both a blessing and a curse for mobile players. Teaming up with friends on other systems is a blast, but anyone using touch controls is as a distinct disadvantage when facing off against their peers using a controller.
However, that advantage disappears when playing on your phone with a Bluetooth controller. Brawlhalla is a fast-paced game, and it's remarkable how different your experience will be depending on your choice of input. Playing with a touchscreen often lent itself to misclicks, poorly timed attacks, and a general air of frustration. It's possible to execute some incredible combinations and rack up dozens of points while using the default touchscreen controls, but more often than not you'll find your efforts thwarted by the less-than-responsive virtual buttons. With a controller, the gameplay is indistinguishable from consoles.
One issue mobile ports usually run into is trying to keep everything discernible on a smaller screen. To fight this issue, Brawlhalla offers a wide variety of camera modes that can be fine-tuned to your liking. I found that during heated free-for-all matches the default settings made it difficult to track my player. After a few adjustments in the menu, however, that problem no longer reared its ugly head. I ended up settling on the Classic camera with the HUD displayed, along with an indicator highlighting my player so they didn't get lost in all the flashy particle effects. This sort of customization is so important on mobile devices, where screen sizes can vary just as much as player preference.
If you've played Brawlhalla in the past, you already know what to expect in this mobile rendition. I was shocked to find out that it really is the original game in its entirety - Ubisoft didn’t' cut any corners when bringing the popular brawler to the small screen. Brawlhalla is already among the best fighting games available on Google Play and the App Store, but the promise of more content and an upcoming battle pass has us excited for the game's future.