Y’all remember SWAT 4? No? What about the Original Rainbow Six? No? Yes? Well just in case you don’t, those were some of the original tactical shooters. Lots of games nowadays try to emulate the realism of taking on the job of a Police Officer or Soldier to varying success. Hot Brass is looking to join the leagues of games that have attempted the genre. But, instead of using a 3rd of 1st Person perspective, Hot Brass takes the top-down approach.
Story – There ain’t one
Usually, I sit here and try to come up with a clever way to not spoil a story mode. Luckily, that’s nothing I have to worry about with Hot Brass. The game focuses around simply infiltrating various locations and saving hostages and arresting or firing on hostiles. That’s it.
Visuals and Sounds – Substance over Excess
Hot Brass instantly cements itself with cartoonish comic visuals at the main menu. We can clearly see there are some human cops getting ready to do their jobs. In-game… well that’s a totally different matter. Instead, we play as a bunch of Pizza Pie Pans toting fully automatic weapons. The environments surrounding the pizza pans remind me of cartoonish hand-drawn art. There were not times where I was confused as to what was a door, a grocery store, or even a bathroom.
The simple and clean user interface and graphics reminded me a lot of the game, “Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine.” Hot Brass uses audio and visual cues to reveal the character’s actions, anger, and compliance. It doesn’t slack on the soundtrack either… with some endearing beats during tense firefights. Weapons and the shots of the SWAT characters are crisp and to the point, but don’t expect much voice acting outside of those moments.
Gameplay – Flipping Pizza
Hot Brass will be familiar to anyone who’s played a tactical shooter before. The idea of this game is less about running in gun blazing and more about the procedure and making sure enemies comply. Sure, you’ll flip a lot of Pizza Pans over in a gunfight for being stubborn. But the idea is to try to get an enemy to surrender before letting that thang go pow. This idea is solidified by an infraction system that penalizes the player and often ends a mission when failing to follow procedure.
An example of this is:
Failing to call out to a person you believe in hostile and violently flipping their pizza over with a hailstorm of bullets. A mistake like this will instantly end a mission and send the team back to the start of a mission.
It’s a good thing that there are many options to take a suspect down without lethal force. The first being the ability to yell across the room. The second option is to use a trusty taser and shock them into submission. The third trick allows for flash grenades to disorient the enemy allowing the officers to detain the suspects. Basically, the last option in our arsenal should be the thing that fires 30 rounds into their body.
Hot Brass’s difficulty doesn’t spike like Hotline Miami either. It’s built for play with up to 2-4 players locally or on the net. The more players gathered the easier the game will be, even with the rogue-like enemy placement changes. However, playing alone will test all of your willpower and patience to try to solve the various challenges within each stage. Completing challenges is the only way to unlock new levels and progress to tougher locations and enemies.
Infractions can happen from weird altercations…
- You’re in a firefight with a suspect and they suddenly surrender as you’re firing back.
- An armed suspect is standing atop a suspect that has surrendered and you attempt to taze the hostile one but end up tazing the non-hostile one as well.
Quality of Life problems like:
- Being unable to open and close doors if someone has surrendered in front of it.
- Doors that open outwards and inwards will only open in one direction no matter what.
- Shouting at a suspect only works behind direct cover in front of the suspect or if you can see the suspect. It doesn’t matter if they are around the corner or in the same room. The officer needs a visual line of sight for that to work.
- Night-Vision goggles make it hard to discern a “Hostile target” vs. a “Non-Hostile Target” with a gun. The brown turns to an orangish color and looks very similar to Hostile targets.
There is a weird lag in some of the later levels… which doesn’t seem like a thing that should occur in a game with these types of visuals.
Hot Brass is actually pretty great if you’ve been having that tactical shooter itch. It plays surprisingly well on both the mouse and the gamepad. The dual-analog stick control scheme allows for easy targeting of enemies, and the control scheme on the gamepad is intuitive and easy to remember. I had a blast playing this game and realized that I missed titles like Rainbow Six Vegas and SWAT 4 more than I remember. If you’ve got some funds, go ahead and gather up some buddies and play some Hot Brass. You will not regret it!