If your fondest wish is to punch terrorism square in the face with an all-star cast of '80s and '90s action stars, Free Lives is developing a game specifically with you in mind. "Broforce" is a loving parody of every cheesy afternoon cable action movie you've ever seen, with retro visuals to match.
Tom's Guide went hands-on with "Broforce" at SxSW 2014. The title is a side-scrolling action/platformer that owes a lot to the Nintendo classic "Contra." Players traverse levels, jumping from platform to platform, blasting terrorists and dodging environmental hazards like land mines. Pass a checkpoint, and your character will hoist an American flag and continue.
What makes "Broforce" compulsively playable rather than dull or dated is its visible love for '80s and '90s action schlock nostalgia. At the beginning of each level, you'll be randomly assigned an ersatz version of a hero.
The roster is huge. During our brief playthrough, we encountered Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Wesley Snipes, Will Smith, Mr. T, Arnold Schwarzenegger (from both "Predator" and "The Terminator") and Sylvester Stallone (from both "Rambo" and "Judge Dredd"). As you rescue prisoners in each stage, you'll unlock additional heroes.
The gameplay is unapologetically difficult, but also fairly deep for a simple 8-bit throwback. Each hero has a different weapon, from not-exactly-Agent J's Noisy Cricket from "Men in Black" to not-exactly-Blade's vampire-killing katana from "Blade."
Each weapon destroys the environment in addition to enemies, meaning that you'll have to strike a balance between total mayhem and keeping enough land intact to traverse the level. Since you can't choose your character, saying the game is "strategic" would be an overstatement, but the action is not quite as mindless as it may first appear.
"Broforce" is a ton of fun, especially since you can play cooperatively with your best bro, or online with up to four players. If silly action movies and Nintendo games were your bread and butter growing up, "Broforce" will hit your sweet spot with an exploding eagle punch of freedom.