If Indiana Jones and The Mummy had a baby, and then said baby rolled through a campy 1930s-themed party shop, the result would be Strange Brigade. This co-op centric shooter from Rebellion (the guys behind the under-appreciated Sniper Elite franchise) will be immediately familiar to third-person action fans – you run, shoot, and collect a lot of things – but Strange Brigade also has a few tricks up its sleeve to keep things interesting, making it one of the more replayable and unique games this side of 2018.
The game’s most noteworthy attribute is its setting and milieu, throwing players back to an era of awe-inspiring adventure, marvellous mysteries, precarious predicaments, and other alliteration-laden backdrops; resting heavily on the somewhat cheesy scenarios one would come to expect from fiction of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s – and this self-awareness does wonders for the experience.
Kitted out with bizarre characters, grainy black-and-white cut-scenes, and an over-the-top Transatlantic narrator, Strange Brigade does a solid job at knowing exactly what it is and embracing it, capturing the pulp and adventurous spirit of stories from that period.
The story itself stars the titular Strange Brigade: a ragtag group of four very-different characters tasked with stopping an evil Egyptian goddess from unleashing a horde of monsters, mummies, and a slew of other grotesque creatures onto the world. There’s not too much else going on, and admittedly, it works, providing just enough context for why you’re shooting tons of ancient creatures in the face.
Thankfully, you can shoot these enemies in the face with friends! The game allows up to 4 players to team up and take on the campaign, but while the game is better with friends, you can also play through solo. There’s no denying that it does feel a little ’empty’ when transitioning from the cutscenes featuring the whole crew to traipsing around Egyptian grave-sites alone, but those who enjoy solitary experiences shouldn’t have any qualms about it.
While the game also gives you a healthy selection of handguns, rifles, and other special weapons to rid the world of evil, traps play a hugely important role in your survival. The levels include environmental hazards (spinning blades, swinging pendulums, etc) that can be activated by shooting trigger-objects – promoting you to use your brain a little; luring a horde of mummified guards into a fire-pit before activating it is a great way to thin out the hordes.
So, should you sign-up with the Strange Brigade? From a gameplay perspective, the game delivers something not unfamiliar to the gaming scene, but that objective-driven co-op experience is wrapped up in a lovable, fun, charming and tongue-in-cheek milieu from years-gone-by that leaves a memorable impression.
Strange Brigade is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.