If you ever walk into a dorm and spot a cluster of friends frantically tapping at their touchscreens, chances are they are fully immersed in a heated game of Brawl Stars, a tremendously fun yet addictive mobile shooter video game where players battle to accumulate trophies, unlock new brawlers, and unleash their unique super charges.
As a second semester senior with more free time, I recently stumbled across Brawl Stars, and I am not alone. Many Webbies have also played this free-to-download app with their friends; all you need is a strong internet connection and a cellular device or tablet to have an unforgettable brawling experience.
Each brawling session lasts under three minutes. The high-tech graphics, fast-paced intensity, and swift gameplay satisfy users of a wide range of gaming experience. Each of the 22 available brawlers has their own distinct strengths and weaknesses, famous catchphrase, and “Super” (special ability). Examples of brawlers include a needle-throwing cactus, sharpshooting robot, hammer-wielding Frankenstein, mythic vampire, and boxing botanist.
“Brawl Stars is my favorite game,” said Alicia Jaqua (‘21), an avid brawler with over 5,500 trophies. “I don’t play many games, but I can play Brawl Stars for hours. I really enjoy the graphics of the characters, the different types of maps, and how many game setups there are. Playing with my friends is even better because we always end up laughing and having a good time. Also, we can talk to each other in real-time so I tend to earn more trophies because we have a shared strategy.”
Supercell, the creators of other popular games like Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, launched this app globally back in December of 2018. This game has become extremely popular not only amongst the Webb community, but also in the international market. One week after its worldwide release, Brawl Stars grossed $5.1 million through in-app purchases and reached a total of 9.5 million downloads.
However, the Brawl Stars frenzy is not over yet. Its most recent January 2020 update includes a new brawler, a new game mode, a new Arcade environment, and more skins, among other bug fixes. These new rolling features allow for even better experiences where Webbies can play real-time battles with friends from Webb or around the world.
“I downloaded the game when they first made it,” said TJ Ahn (‘23). “It’s pretty original, and compared to PUBG Mobile, it’s much easier. I have around 5,900 trophies and play every day with my friends on the van to the climbing gym for afternoon activity.”
Players can collect a daily reward for faithfully returning to the app, which encourages users like me to brawl on a daily basis. In addition, users can spend real money on virtual gems or coins to power-up their brawlers. The Trophy Road also offers a series of incremental reasons to keep players hooked, as the more total trophies your brawlers accumulate, the more rewards you earn through the road.
“I love Brawl Stars, and I play it every day before I go to sleep,” said Sara Hagiwara (‘20), an experienced user with nearly 9,000 trophies. “The trophy system gives me an incentive to play more, and I love collecting brawlers and ranking them up. I used to spend money because I wanted more coins, but it’s kind of stupid so I stopped.”
Within the game, Brawl Stars offers a variety of shuffling events such as Duo Showdown, Gem Grab, Bounty, Brawl Ball, Heist, and Robo Rumble. Each game mode is relatively easy to learn; from 3v3 soccer to gem stealing, users can enjoy many different virtual experiences.
Brawl Stars’s matchmaking algorithm randomly sorts players into an arena based on brawler trophies and power level, so similar users can compete without an obvious unfair advantage. As for graphics, a cell-shaded top-down view promotes ease of control. Players simply drag the yellow control to aim and fire their super, an unpredictable element that ensures the game dynamics could change at any moment to keep players constantly on their toes.
While I am not much of a gamer myself, Brawl Stars hooked me with one of its game modes: Duo Showdown. This mode pairs users up with random players and transports teams of two into a square arena that constantly shrinks in size as clouds of poison gas close in. Over the past couple of weeks, I have experimented with a variety of strategic approaches to succeed in this game mode. Open maps offer an advantage for long-range brawlers, whereas the condensed maze zones help short-range heavyweights succeed. Some players choose to hide in the bushes and ambush at the end, while others prefer to collect boxes and build power cubes.
Ultimately, Brawl Stars’ short bursts of high intensity leave players’ hearts racing and eagerly tapping the orange rectangular Play Again button for more. My screen time on Brawl Stars now rivals that of other social media giants like Snapchat and TikTok, and I look forward to what is to come from Supercell.