REVIEW: ‘Bounty Battle’ Feels Mediocre But Has Potential (Xbox One)

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Bounty Battle Guest Roster

Bounty Battle is hailed as the ultimate indie 2D fighter that features characters/heroes from your favorite indie games. With a decent and loaded roster of familiar faces, Bounty Battle is developed by Dark Screen Games and published by Merge Games.  With a total of 30 characters, you’ll notice the main characters from Dead Cells, Steamworld Dig, Owlboy, Blasphemous, Battle Chasers Nightwar, and Gaucamelee made the roster. A few of these are some of my favorite games and it was a joy to see them let loose in a fighter. Bounty Battle has a large and eclectic roster of characters but unfortunately, it is anything but ultimate.

Bounty Battle‘s tutorial is very thorough in teaching you the mechanics of the game and how to control your character. You have five blue orbs that consist of your energy and they are used to pull off charged moves and to launch your opponent into the air. You also need the energy to pull off a special attack and your ultimate attack.

Inputs are simple but button mashing will not help you win a fight. This is because as you defeat opponents, you collect Bounty Points. If you use the same actions over and over, you’ll be penalized and receive fewer points. Bounty points can be used to unleash minions to fight alongside you or to use powerful attacks after you’ve unlocked them. The Bounty system is pretty interesting and something to look forward to in a fight, whether it be asking for help (from your minion) or getting the upper hand on your opponent with a powerful attack. While there was no online multiplayer, the bounty system is definitely a fun factor. When someone is winning the game, their picture is shown at the top of the screen and how much bounty has been accumulated. If you go after this character and can defeat them before other players, you get their bounty points and a bit of a bonus.

The game’s user experience design is apreciably intuitive. For example, your health is indicated in several ways. You have your life bar, indicated in a vibrant red at the bottom of the screen in the corner. When you’re close to death a small warning symbol flashes to get your attention. Your character will show a glitch effect, making the image of your character obscured and erratic looking, another indication that you’re at low health and losing the fight.

Bounty Battle Screenshot

The UI really helps make things simple to understand. However, actually playing the game and getting into a match is where things start going downhill. Bounty Battle consists of several single-player and a local multiplayer mode. In single-player, there’s a Tournament Mode, Challenge Mode, and Training Room, and a tutorial you can replay repeatedly if need be. In Tournament Mode, you run through a gauntlet of enemies with certain objectives. Some could be as simple as defeating your opponent while others require you to knock your opponent(s) off the board. In Challenge Mode, you choose your character and play against the computer until you die. Of course, you can continue to try and beat your opponent as many times as you want if you lose a round.

While Challenge Mode plays like your traditional Arcade Mode, Tournament Mode felt more advanced. The point of Tournament mode, besides further testing your mettle, is unlocking skins (slight color changes). To receive your reward, you must complete matches without dying. While Tournament Mode felt like it was a challenge meant for advanced players, the difficulty did not scale, even though the objectives seemed reasonable. By the fourth fight and objective, I was tasked with knocking out two characters from the ring. During this fight, my computer-controlled opponents were unrelenting and unforgiving. I was unable to progress beyond the initial character, Azell, and access additional characters to attempt to unlock their skins. While I may not have been able to best my opponents, Challenge Mode and Training allowed me to hone in on skills and personal strategies.

In the Training Room, I tried many different characters, and fighting felt very slow and lacking. You simply attack with the X Button (playing on Xbox One) and you combo with different buttons. In other fighters, you could press varying buttons and your attacks flowed easily, in this game not so much. This was primarily felt because the window for inputting commands so that the combos register just did not work well. Whenever I used a combination of buttons, there felt like an input lag of a couple of seconds. And when I was able to pull off combos, they just didn’t feel satisfying. To top it off, the animation looked bland and unimpressive. When going in for an attack, most characters did a repeated attack, such as repeatedly punching with one hand or kicking with one leg. Granted, some special attack animations did look cool and flashy.

Bounty Battle is not the ultimate indie 2D fighter. It’s mediocre at best, with the only saving grace being its cast of familiar characters to freely use in training mode, a dope chiptune soundtrack, and decent simple level design. However, I do believe this 2D fighter has the potential to shine with a little more polish and added features.

Bounty Battle is available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


Bounty Battle
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Bounty Battle is not the ultimate indie 2D fighter. It’s mediocre at best, with the only saving grace being its cast of familiar characters to freely use in training mode, a dope chiptune soundtrack, and decent simple level design. However, I do believe this 2D fighter has the potential to shine with a little more polish and added features.