Ultra Space Battle Brawl

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Ultra Space Battle Brawl Game Poster Image
Mash-up of arcade classic gameplay quickly gets repetitive.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While there are characters who send friendly messages in text-driven dialogue, the primary focus is to show toughness and beat enemies as quickly as possible. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

You have the option to play various characters, but their only goal is to beat other characters into submission.

Ease of Play

The game is quite easy to jump into and play, with two difficulty levels (Normal and Ultra), but gameplay is based around fast reflexes and the challenge ramps up quickly, requiring fast fingers to survive.

Violence

Features fantasy violence where defeated characters are knocked out. When defeated, a static image shows up onscreen that may show broken teeth and closed eyes. There's no blood or gore displayed.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ultra Space Battle Brawl is a downloadable arcade game for Windows PCs. Players battle head-to-head with a computer-controlled character or another player, or they can team up and play against up to two other players on the same machine. Combat features fantasy violence with gameplay similar to Pong, and when characters are defeated, an image appears onscreen with their eyes closed and sometimes broken teeth, but without blood or gore. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.

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What's it about?

ULTRA SPACE BATTLE BRAWL takes the elements of classic arcade games (Street Fighter and Pong), meshes them together, and applies a thin veneer of a story for a reflex-centered combat game. Though there's little difference at its core gameplay between the Story Mode and the multiplayer elements, USBB allows players to battle through arenas, unlock other characters and work through different maps that add variety to the Pong-like action. Up to four players can participate in the side-scrolling battles.

Is it any good?

Meld the two-dimensional gameplay of Pong with a dash of Street Fighter and you have a throwback game that offers little variety but plenty of challenge. Ultra Space Battle Brawl uses the idea of a kid battling for glory (in the story mode) by taking on others in an arena battle that's mostly borrowed from Pong. The Street Fighter elements come into play in the set-up, the three-round match concept, the artwork, and its cheesy take on the background music. Where the game falters with story and variety of basic gameplay elements, it does attempt to make up for it with different maps and different skills that require fast thinking and quicker fingers to counter. 

USBB also features pixelated retro graphics with bright and colorful art, and music that's a mix of Indonesian "house music" and 1980s-style synth. It works, but it gets old quick. There are a total of 10 playable characters, and players are tasked with working through the arena battles to unlock new places to fight across. But perhaps the biggest problem with the game is that while is works as a test of your reflexes and the maps do vary, the gameplay's the same thing over and over. That's great if you enjoyed Pong, but if you're a player that's looking for something a little deeper, USBB won't fit that bill for long. It's a good tribute game that's too shallow to keep you coming back for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Ultra Space Battle Brawl affected by the lack of realistic combat? Would it be intensified if there was realistic imagery or blood shown?

  • What makes a game enjoyable? Do the graphics matter, or does the story elements - even if thin - have any impact on what makes for a good game?

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