Brandnew Boy Review

By , on March 12, 2012

Brandnew Boy
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Anime-esque visual flair; adds energy to the combat and environments.
  • Easy to learn rhythm-based combat; tap enemies to dish out insane damage.


  • Dull unlockables; other than weapons players occasionally upgrade powers and earn a new costume or two.
  • Camera locks in combat; makes for awkward situational awareness.
  • Special abilities fail to execute without a good reason.
  • Monotonous combat.


Brandnew Boy has the right idea when it comes to testing out new methods for bringing exciting action-based gaming to the iOS platform, however it's riddled with problematic design issues that not only result in the game feeling incomplete, but also dull.

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When Rocksteady mentioned that the combat for Batman Arkham had its roots in rhythm gaming, I believed them - its fluid sense of combat that rewards well-timed parries, item deployments and straight-up beat-downs has a visceral feel to it that quickly becomes addictive. Best of all it lends itself to rather simplistic controls, which is all the better for Brandnew Boy by Oozoo as it builds upon the concept with a single-touch system.

Cue a memory-wiped protagonist, super-powers, a whole mess of enemies and a thin (but otherwise amusing) plot to motivate you forward through the simple, yet beautiful Unreal engine rendered world. Watching the 'hero' Rookie punch is way through a series of enemies is like watching a Manga come to life as a Saturday morning cartoon, but beyond this thin outer shell, things start to fall apart.

Initially the combat system is compelling and entertaining - tapping the screen allows you to target and otherwise punch / kick the foes in your way, with a series of unlockable skills adding to your repertoire. Swiping allows you to dodge their poorly animated attacks, while tapping to the rhythm of the moving bar below the combat rewards you with bonus damage. A string of hits can be maintained for a combo (seemingly adding to your damage as well), though taking damage or too long between hits will reset the counter.

However, once you scratch a little deeper the game runs out of ideas - enemies occasionally have shields that can be popped with a double-tap, but aside from this it's a monotonous series of battles where you tap, swipe and tap again until you're given the victory screen.

This would be far more engaging if the game wasn't also sporting its share of design flaws including a camera that locks once you're in combat - an embarrassing flaw for a game that requires situational awareness to attain the elusive 'no damage' stage clear. Also, the skills themselves are awkward to pull off and are easily canceled by an enemy being a fraction out of range.

Brandnew Boy has all the right pieces to provide a short, but compelling fighter that uses its combat to drag you from engagement to engagement, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired and ends up feeling tired and broken far sooner than it should.


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