Most games that boast incredible, innovative 3D graphics in the App Store are a gamble. Either they’re exaggerating, or you’re in for a frustrating time fighting bugs. Oozoo’s Brandnew Boy is one of the few that delivers on its promises, and with silky smooth animation and (as far as this reviewer can tell) flawless execution.
Brandnew Boy starts out with the somewhat predictable premise of a hero that suffers amnesia. A young boy has come to on a strange planet—maybe in a strange dimension, who knows—with no memory of who he is. He doesn’t know why he’s there, and more importantly, he doesn’t know why nearly everyone he comes across is so darn hostile. Thankfully, “Rookie” has a certain knack for self defense, and he’s also a quick learner.
Gameplay is pretty much non-stop action, as in beating up bad guys. You’ll be taking on as many as five of the nefarious types at one go, which makes for some pretty incredible fight scenes from the start. Brandnew Boy is unabashedly an action addict’s dream come true, and it manages all of this hardboiled heroism with a control set up that’s pretty unique. Attacks are triggered by taps—single taps for a regular attack, and double taps for a ‘break’ (an attack on your enemy’s shields). That doesn’t sound too intriguing out of the box, but it gets better. By mastering the perfect rhythm and maintaining consecutive hits, you’ll put together some very impressive combos. The target rhythm is picked up by observing a status bar that hovers during fights. Strike when the indicator is yellow, and you’ve got it.
The first few fights are gimmes, but as you progress, being able to finesse that rhythm when being manhandled by five seriously sinister enemies is a challenge. It’s a satisfying one, however. And satisfying is a good term for Brandnew Boy all around. The action hits the spot. Between stages, you’ll have brief cut scenes to whet your appetite regarding the secrets in Rookie’s past. The pacing is exceptional, with harder baddies showing up just as you start to wonder if you’re going to tap your way to the end effortlessly. And then, there are the bosses. Talk about creepy, crawly, scary characters. While Rookie’s usual enemies are other martial artists, regardless of how fantastical they are, get ready for some bad-ass beast action when it’s boss time. The best part? Beating a boss means earning the privilege of summoning it in the following stages as a special attack.
Obviously, we have to give credit where it’s due. Unreal Engine’s superior 3D graphics foundation gives Brandnew Boy a great edge. But without great art direction, character design, and game play to complement all that visual magic, it wouldn’t be much. Oozoo is definitely not trying to get a free ride here. From Rookie’s special attacks, to the variety of enemies, to the narrative that drives the story, it looks like a lot of talented people put in overtime to make Brandnew Boy top charts.
Brandnew Boy is available now in the iTunes App Store, and $3.99 is a great deal for a challenging, unique, and innovative new take on 3D beat ‘em ups!