May 6th, 2012 | By Former Staff
What would happen if you woke up in the middle of nowhere and had no idea who you were? Fortunately, that will never happen, unless you’re dreaming or playing a game about it. Brandnew Boy takes you upon a journey with a walking television; it’s something you’d see in a movie, like Michael Bay’s Transformers where Bumblebee could only communicate using the radio. In this case, however, the game uses television broadcasts instead. Right after the short “cut-scene” composed of text (which appears to resemble the interface of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney), monsters appear out of the blue and start attacking you. They’re demanding that you tell them why you’ve been attacking them, but you can’t explain yourself. Waking up with no clue who you are, then mobbed by egg creatures? Wow, what a way to wake up on a nice morning.
Brandnew Boy: The Oriental Queen, Oozoo Inc.’s first game, made a splash at the App Store, hitting the #1 RPG Game in 10 countries and the top 10 RPG Game in 20 other countries. The game is based on the highly acclaimed Unreal 3 Engine, with leading games such as Infinity Blade II and Epoch., which generate beautiful, partially open-world landscape maps. Using the Unreal 3 Engine to it’s full potential, Brandnew Boy has elegant controls, almost unseen in most mobile games. Combined with the intense Beat’em Up action, it is one of the most noteworthy games I’ve played.
Due to many fighting games failing to perform to par because of controls, I want to address the control scheme with Brandnew Boy first. The execution of the controls is stupendous, not only performs well on skill and timing, but is accurate as well. Moving Rookie is as easy as tapping the screen, and stopping just requires another tap. Panning the camera is easy; you can simply swipe in any direction to change the view.
Most importantly, fighting is quite easy to do. Tapping a character will mark it to be attacked, and Rookie will head towards the enemy. Tapping will also initiate the attack if Rookie is close enough, and an attack bar will appear near the bottom middle of the screen. Dodging in battle can be fully controlled using a swipe-movement action. Dodging is extremely useful when an enemy’s bubble, a small circle notifying you where the enemy is, starts flashing. The enemy’s bubble is useful to know when an enemy is planning to attack and to locate where their positions are without seeking them out. To shift focus to another monster, all I had to do was tap the body of the enemy, the face of the monster showing the enemy’s health at the bottom of the screen, or the bubble that appears on the side of the HUD when the enemy is off-screen.
Engaging in combat, like previously said, will make a slider gauge appear. Tapping while the moving bar is in yellow target zone will allow for a power attack rather than a standard attack. Power attacks render the enemy helpless until your next tap, as well as do increased damage. Getting the timing right may sometimes be a little tricky for musically-impaired players, because the target zone slightly shifts with every offense, adding a bit of a trick to attacking. A portion of the enemies you encounter will have a block/shield ability, which needs to be broken by double tapping the monster.
While most attacks will be regular attacks, a few advanced techniques are available to be used by tapping the icon at the bottom of the screen. The techniques can be chosen and ordered in the shop, which I will go into more detail about later. While using a special attack will not require any MANA or MP in Brandnew Boy, the attacks do have a cool-down time after using. When starting out, you’ll have only one special attack available: A kick that sends an enemy flying. When activated, you can also tap the icon of the character to send an enemy smashing back to the ground, which also knocks back any foes waiting for you at the bottom. Other special attacks can be obtained by playing through the game or spending gold, an in-game currency earned after completing a level, to get the ability in advance.
As you trek through the game, you’ll find it necessary to maintain your gold and your experience. As stated before, gold is obtained after beating each level. Your experience points rise as enemies are defeated, raising your level every time the exp. bar reaches 100 percent. Leveling up allows access to previously locked weapons and skills. Gold can be used in the store to purchase new weapons, apparel, or items. Another use for gold is to be able to continue at a point of defeat in the game, without losing any gained exp.
Leveling up also increases stats in the game:, such as strength, dexterity, vitality, agility, intelligence, and friendly. Each stat plays a big role on how powerful your character is. Strength increases your base damage, dexterity increases knock back, vitality determines your HP, agility increases attack speed, intelligence decreases special attack cool down, and friendly increases exp. gain rate. In addition to leveling up, purchasing different weapons or apparel can increase your base stats.
The store itself is quite impressive, containing a good amount of items. There are 15+ weapons to choose from, each having a level requirement. There are also different costumes that include the regular P.C Oriental Hood (with a wide variety of colors), the Vice Solter uniform (with three different colors), and the Juvenile Rock Soul. Also available in the store are potions that can increase any stat by a certain percentage, but you get a complementary potion at the end of every level. Skills can also be purchased, starting at level six. Most of the skills are active skills, where you have to activate them in battle, but a few are passive, where they are always “active”. As the game goes on, you’ll encounter special boss battles that stand in your way of retrieving your lost memory, and after they are defeated, you can summon them to help you in battle. The skill/ability to summon them will then appear in the store, ready for purchase or upgrades.
To upgrade an item, you must use enhancement stones, which can be picked up randomly after defeating an enemy. Some skills can be upgraded to increase duration, range, or to decrease cool down. Other items can be upgraded to increase stat levels. After upgrading a certain item, it will require more enhancement stones per upgrade.
For some of the lazier folks who can’t stand to play through a whole game to earn an item, you can purchase gold through an IAP. While there are IAPs, all items can be obtained through battle, so it’s not necessary to purchase any additional gold. That being said, there are some situations where money grinding (i.e. replaying a level just for the money) is required. After beating the game, I definitely skipped a couple weapons and costumes, or it would have been considerably irritating to earn the gold for all items.
If you complete every single level with gold (meaning both requirements are met), you can obtain the Devil’s Horn for free, where as it normally costs 999999 gold. Most levels can’t be completed while meeting the two requirements unless you’re pretty far into the game and you’re replaying the first few levels. The two requirements usually are completing the level under a certain time, and not getting hit once. Another requirement that usually swaps out with “not getting hit” is not using any special skills/attacks. Completing one of the requirements will earn you a silver medal for the level.
Brandnew Boy might be a bit tougher or considerably more agitating if you guzzle all your gold to reviving yourself. There really is no reason to purchase a “revive” because a level is too difficult, because after failing and restarting, the enemies will become remarkably weaker. Any level is possible to complete without a revive, so it’s a complete waste of money to do purchase such. Levels do have a bit of challenge, but are all beatable – especially if the player boost themselves with a potion at the beginning of a level. Any player should also be a smart shopper and refrain from buying all the latest weapons because often a new and better weapon is just a few levels away.
The trick to getting the hang of combat may require a bit of thinking, where you mix special attacks and normal attacks. It’s essential to keep other enemies away while beating down on a specific enemy because of the chance of them attacking you. My chief strategy, with the exception of boss battles, is to use Windmill to push away and break any blocking enemies. Then, I would take out the stronger ones, usually the ones blocking or the rangers (where they shoot off fire blasts), with a Mount and continued with an AirLaunch to take out any enemies crowded around me below. That usually takes care of one of the squadrons of enemies, and prepares me for the next one with the Windmill fully recharged. Of course, it’s all that with the standard attacks included. In special cases, I would summon one of the previous defeated bosses when things get too tough.
As I mentioned earlier, one thing that’s great about Brandnew Boy is just how beautiful the visuals and graphics are. Perhaps you’ve noticed by now, but the characters and enemies are surprisingly “realistically made”. I love the designs, especially because Oozoo brings in a manga/anime style into the game. For those unknown to those terms, it pretty much means it’s a Japanese styled cartoon. However, Oozoo is based in Korea, so I’m guessing the style for the game should actually be manhwa (Korean for manga). The fighting is graceful and elegant, especially when getting demolishing 200+ hit combos. Everything from doing a Windmill kick, jumping into a roll, getting a few consecutive punches, kicking them and beating them down then rapidly smashing their face with your heels looks amazing throughout the graphics.
In conclusion, I’d like to first say a thanks for hanging on until now, and especially a big round of an applause to the developers. The English translation for Brandnew Boy was actually done right, where the plot and dialogue was logical and sensible. The dialogue was fitting and I didn’t find any major errors or inconsistencies. Often, translated games, whether from Korea, Japan, or China, get misinterpreted, leading to a confused gamer. Thankfully, the developers either hired a person who actually knew English to translate their game, or they knew English well enough live in America. The ending was clean and left a good place for a sequel. More over, the credits were unique, something that I’ve never seen in any other game. If Oozoo decides to develop another sequel, I’d definitely give the game a good go.
More information on Brandnew Boy is available on their official website. The iOS version can be downloaded at the App Store, universal for iPhone and iPad for $3.99. The Android version is coming soon to the Play Store.