If it’s a top-down arena based auto-shooter you are after, it’s probably Vampire Survivors you should be playing.
But what if you prefer the potato life? If that’s your bag, we’re not sure there’s anything better in the Survivors genre than Brotato. It’s just stupid fun. Stupid addictive fun.
There are a whole ton of games that have tried to jump on the back of the genre leading Vampire Survivors. Most of them have missed the mark, falling short of delivering the appeal and addiction that poncle’s classic provides. However, even though Brotato is different, it’s about the closest thing you’re going to get. And it’s the only one that lets you live out that surviving fantasy as a potato. Or multiple potatoes, if you wish.
As Vampire Survivors has proved, and I promise that’s the last time I’m going to name drop that game in this review, the simplest of things can sometimes be the best. It’s that which Brotato absolutely owns, building on a simple core mechanic with more variety than you could ever consider.
Basically put, in Brotato you are left to take on the role of a humble Brotato. Kitted out with nothing but some guns, traits, buffs and skills, it’s up to you to try and take your little guy though some twenty stages of Survivor hell, beating back every single opponent that may come your way. With waves lasting from a mere twenty seconds up to ninety or so, the auto-firing of Brotato means you’ll get to focus your efforts on one thing – staying alive.
There’s a story kicking around in Brotato, but it’s not one that is ever focused on, leaving the killing and surviving at the fore. It’s here where enemy numbers start off low, as do the attacks they make. But as the waves build, the numbers increase, so much so that the small arena you find yourself is soon filled. From there, Brotato is all about crossing your fingers and hoping that your choice of weaponry, and perhaps a ton of luck, allow you to make it through to further waves.
Running without a hitch, visually there’s nothing here that will make you shout and scream from the rooftops. It’s detailed enough and comes with the usual sounds you’d associate with the genre, but that’s not the point of these ‘Survivor’ games. Instead the devs prefer to let the on-screen action do the talking. It doesn’t ever shut up in Brotato either.
Weapons and traits are the key and whilst you’ll start off slowly, working your way through initial waves, for each kill you’ll grab some Material; an in-game currency that lets you start piling on your Brotato build. Whether those weapons are melee focused, range attacks, explosive, full of fire or more, choosing from options given between waves at an in-game shop is as easy as pie; at least it is as long as you can afford what is being offered. You can stack those weapons too, with the majority of the Brotato roster available for play letting you kit them out with six weapons; combining similar types into super powerful arsenals of hell is doable. It’s all about mixing and matching, levelling up, increasing stats and percentages as you move forward.
Traits and Items are also available. Some of these will increase your HP levels for instance, others will help with the Harvesting of Material, whilst more still increase – or decrease – Dodge, Damage, Luck, Elemental skills and the like. Throw in some little Turrets or Mines to aid the killing, or Trees and Gardens that drop health seeds as well as other helpful oddities, and it won’t be long before your little Brotato becomes an all-out killing machine.
The overall goal in Brotato is to survive to Wave 20, at which point a big boss will arrive and your job will be complete, opening up further difficulties there on out. But, should you so wish, an Endless Wave option is also available, allowing you the chance to leg it through Wave 20 and onwards. If you’re having fun and think you have created a build capable of taking on some serious enemy numbers, by all means, crack on. Mostly though you’ll probably look to take what you can at Wave 20, listen to the ping of the achievements thrown your way, and then prepare for an all-new run with an all-new Brotato.
It’s in those Brotatos where the appeal and addiction is found. There are tons of variants to unlock and choose from, with the humble Well-Rounded character soon accompanied by some 44 others. Each of these come with their own starting stats to provide an altogether different test. For instance, Pacifist is low on Damage and Engineering, but gains Material for every living enemy left at the end of a wave; Doctor utilises Medical weapons and HP Regen, but is battered by a low Attack Speed; Mage preferring to make do with Elemental Damage in return for some hits to their Melee and Range attacks. With Gamerscore and achievements tied to most (read: all) of the Brotatos included, you can see where the replayability sits.
Brotato gets better with some slick accessibility options. By default, this is a proper test of your gaming skills as you head out; shooting, dodging, hoping that you have what it takes to survive the harsh world you find yourself in. But Blobfish will let you make things easier if you need the help, allowing the opportunity to dial down enemy health, speed and damage levels. You can even switch a manual aim on if you wish. For us, it’s the auto-battling that is much preferred.
Brotato is all really rather good, but there is possibly just one thing that holds it back from total greatness. That is any real sense of progression. With Brotato being set across one teeny tiny, slightly-larger-than-single-screen arena, there’s not much/any room for Blobfish to amend the playfield. And that means that no matter what difficulty you play Brotato on, moving through and completing all waves found across Levels 0-5 will feel very familiar. Yes, new enemies are slowly introduced, but only very sparingly with all dispatched in the same way – as swiftly as possible.
That in turn then feeds into the grind. It’s something we should expect of such a game, and Brotato is far from an unrelenting trudge. But aside from the unlockables and an avalanche of achievements, there’s not really too much to go hunting down once you’ve made it through to Wave 20, or Wave 30 in the Endless mode.
Thankfully the core gameplay, the huge number of unlockables and the variety in weapons, traits and skills combined with the fast action ensure Brotato is up there with the genre leaders. If you need a new addiction and want to waste more hours than you really should trying to survive, but want to do it as a potato, you should be joining the Brotato crew.