Battle Bounty Review
There are no nice words to be said of Battle Bounty. You can continue reading this if you consider reviews a form of entertainment, but I’ll tell you right off the bat: this is not a game worth getting. The interesting concept of pitting a wide selection of indie characters (from games like Owlboy, Guacamelee, and Blasphemous) against each other in a Super Smash Bros. style brawler falls flat due to a number of issues, from design choices to bugs and weak performance.
My first impression was immediately negative: playing on the Switch, it took me more than a minute to reach the main menu after opening the game. A number of studio logos slowly popped up on my screen, and after they were over I was greeted with what’s probably the game’s best part: the trailer. It’s a very nice trailer, isn’t it? It’s also the only thing I can describe positively about Battle Bounty.
For starters, the game features a weird, glitchy TV aesthetic, with green and pink lines running across your screen every now and then. It doesn’t look good and it doesn’t mesh with the arena backgrounds. The UI is also hard to parse and sticks out like a sore thumb—all in all, there’s a very distinct lack of visual cohesion between the character designs and the arenas and everything else.
I could forgive most of this if the gameplay were good. I’ve certainly played some very ugly looking games if only because they were extremely fun, but that is not the case with Battle Bounty. Combat feels floaty, the animations are stiff, and collision is, quite literally, very hit or miss. Whatever frame rate the developers targeted, they missed it: stutters and drops are frequent and inexcusable when you consider competing games, such as Brawlhalla and Super Smash Bros., keep a consistent 60 FPS (while looking better!). There’s no online to speak of, either, so you’ll have to suffer through all this while dealing with CPU enemies that felt like they’d been lobotomized (even on the highest difficulty), spamming the same attack constantly (which is a viable tactic here, for some reason, but still) and never trying to evade you.
There’s really no silver lining to Battle Bounty, and it definitely feels like a squandered opportunity, given that they had access to such a rich and varied cast of characters. On a console that has the brawling masterpiece that is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, there’s little reason to even think about getting Battle Bounty—and even if you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, there are alternatives that are actually good, such as Brawlhalla and soon, Rivals of Aether. I would like to note that the developers seem active in pushing out updates to the game—whether they’ll fix it or not is another matter, and it does seem like an uphill battle, but one can hope this excellent cast of characters gets a game that’s up to the standards their own games set.
It is also available on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.