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Brawl Stars

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Brawl Stars
Brawl Stars logo.png
Developer(s)Supercell
Publisher(s)Supercell
Platform(s)iOS, Android
Release
  • Beta: June 14, 2017
  • WW: December 12, 2018
Genre(s)MOBA, Hero shooter
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Brawl Stars is a multiplayer online battle arena[1] and third-person hero shooter[2] video game developed and published by the Finnish video game company Supercell.[3] It was released worldwide on December 12, 2018, on iOS and Android.[4] The game features various game modes, each with a different objective. Players can choose from a selection of Brawlers, which are characters that can be controlled with on-screen joysticks in a game match.[5]

Gameplay

Screenshot of gameplay in the "Bounty" mode

In Brawl Stars, players battle against other players or AI opponents in multiple game modes. Players can choose between characters called Brawlers that they have unlocked through Boxes, the Brawl Pass, the Trophy Road, or purchased through the Shop to use in battles.[6]

Brawl Stars has a variety of different game modes that players can choose from, each one having a different objective. Players can invite friends to play with them up to the maximum team size of the game mode.[7][8]

In addition, it is possible to purchase skins with Gems or Star Points, or unlock them through the Brawl Pass, which will alter the appearance, animations, and/or sounds of Brawlers.[6][9]

Brawl Pass

In May 2020, a game update added a new reward system called “Brawl Pass”. The Brawl Pass is the game's version of a battle pass. When players compete in battles, they earn Tokens to progress along the Brawl Pass. Players can earn Boxes, Gems, skins, Pins (emojis that can be used during battles or in a team game room), Coins, Power Points, and Brawlers from the pass. There are two types of Brawl Pass. All players have the free Brawl Pass by default. Players can purchase the premium Brawl Pass with Gems.[10]

Power League

Power League is a competitive ranking system added to the game in season 5. This replaced the Power Play system. Players unlock this system at 4500 trophies. There are a total of 19 ranks between bronze one and master. Each season lasts two months, with the exception of the first season, which would end at the end of season 5. At the end of a Power League season, players gain Star Points based on their rank.[11]

Players can enter Power League solo or with teams of three. The winner is decided on a best-of-three format and ties do not count. Each match starts the game randomly choosing a game mode and map. A leader from both teams choose a Brawler to ban. All six players in the match must play with a different Brawler. Progression is varied based on various factors including the opponents ranks.[11]

Club League

Club League was introduced in season 9 as a new weekly competition between Clubs, where eight Clubs compete during the days Wednesday, Friday and Sunday of the week. Tickets are required to play matches. Clubs compete to gain the most Club Trophies possible by players playing in selected matches. Players who play with other Club members are rewarded by earning more Club Trophies for the Club. After each competing day, the Clubs are ranked based on the Club's Trophies to earn Club Points.[12]

When the league ends on every Monday, the Clubs are ranked based on the Club's Points to determine if the Club is promoted or demoted and the number of rewards. Club Ranks are the same as Power League ranks, where progression starts at Bronze I. Each Club member receives Club Coins at the end based on the performance of the Club and the member, which can be used in the Club Shop.[12]

Seasons

Each season brings a new Brawl Pass and Power League. Each season is accompanied with new skins that are themed to the season.[13]

Development and release

Supercell set out to develop a team based game similar to League of Legends and Overwatch. The team wanted to create such a game that was designed with mobile devices in mind first. According to Supercell's Frank Keienburg, "Our focus was on retaining a lot of depth while stripping away all the fluff."[14] Although the game contains some elements of the battle royale genre, these were implemented before the genre as a whole took off and the team did not set out to make a game with those elements.[15]

The game is notable for its long soft launch period during which virtually every aspect of the game changed.[16] Supercell officially announced the game via a livestream video on June 14, 2017.[17] It received an iOS soft launch in Canada the following day.[18] The soft launch would last a total of 522 days, during which internally it was doubted whether or not the game would ever actually see a general release.[15][14] Initially the game was played in portrait mode and had players tapping on the screen, this was changed eventually to players using analog controls and playing in landscape mode.[15][14] Other changes include changing the UI, changing the metagame and transitioning the game from 2D to 3D.[14] Frank Keienburg attributes the difficult beta period to the developers working in a new genre where they "weren't sure how to interpret its success".[15] The game soft-launched in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao and Malaysia for iOS on January 19, 2018, and on June 26, 2018, Android received early access to the game as a continuation of the soft launch.[19]

Brawl Stars was made globally and officially available on December 12, 2018.[4][1] It made more than US$63 million in its first month.[20] On June 9, 2020, Brawl Stars was released in Mainland China.[21]

Partnerships

The game has a partnership with Line Friends to create official merchandise, new skins for Brawlers that are based on Line Friends characters, sticker packs on Line messenger, and new content. A pop-up store was opened in January 2020 in South Korea to sell the merchandise from the partnership. Merchandise is also available at major Line Friends retail stores and online.[22]

The game partnered up with Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG), a French professional soccer club, in 2019 to host Brawl Stars Ball Cup organized by PSG's esports division. There were three online qualifier events and an online playoff event. The top two teams travelled to Paris for the finals. The finals were played live at PSG's home stadium, Parc des Princes. All matches took place in Brawl Ball, a football-like game mode.[23]

The game partnered up with PSG again in 2020 and 2021. During the partnerships, the game launched the Paris Saint-Germain Challenge. The challenges are similar to the championship challenges, but all matches are based in the Brawl Ball game mode. In 2020, the game offered a PSG skin for Shelly for players who won nine matches and lost four or fewer times. PSG's esports division also has a team that competed in the 2020 championship challenge.[24] In 2021, the game offered a PSG Mike skin for Dynamike.[25]

Reception

Awards

The game was nominated for "Mobile Game" and "EE Mobile Game of the Year" at the 15th British Academy Games Awards.[29]

Critical reception

Brawl Stars received "mixed or average" reviews or 72 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic.[26]

Pocket Gamer's Harry Slater scored the game 3 out of 5. Reviewing the game immediately after global release, he praised that game's progression. He criticized Showdown, the game's battle royale mode, for being the weakest of all the game modes that were in the game. He said that Showdown "doesn't capture the real madness of the genre, and there's a distinct lack of tension since you can pretty much see everyone on the map and what they're up to." He mentioned that something felt "missing in Brawl Stars. You'll play, you'll get new characters, you'll unlock new modes, but you're never having quite as much fun as you feel you should be doing." He continued on to say that "the action is relatively flat - in the team matches you know within the first few seconds which way the game is going." He concluded in disappointment because the game did not seem like "the huge step forward for multiplayer mobile action that a lot of us were hoping for."[27]

148 Apps' Campbell Bird scored the game 3.5 out of 5. She started with mentioning that the game felt "like a combination of Arena of Valor and Overwatch." She praised the game's graphics and the developer's implementation of the progression system to encourage players to play again, as well as the quick matchmaking. However, she criticized the game's controls for feeling "oddly loose and muddy," the characters falling "into pretty predictable hero shooter archetypes," as well as claiming that "every mode in the game is some variation on something you’ve seen before in other, better multiplayer shooters." She also highlighted that the frequent connection issues and unbalanced teams made the experience of playing the game less enjoyable.[28]

Commercial reception

Brawl Stars has been downloaded over 200 million times. In 2020, Brawl Stars had the second highest gross of any mobile game in Europe.[30] It grossed US$526 million in total in 2020, which accounted for more than half its life time revenue. It was also the fourth game by Supercell to surpass US$1 billion in lifetime revenue.[31]

Brawl Stars Championship

The Brawl Stars Championship is an open tournament for players across the globe. This tournament consists of the monthly in-game Championship Challenges where players compete in game to win 15 matches in five different game modes and maps without losing 3 matches. After 15 wins, players proceed to the next stage, the regional Monthly Qualifier events, where players must be 16 years or older to participate.[32] Through the qualifier events, players can secure a spot in the regional Monthly Finals. These events would lead to the World Finals.[33][34]

In 2019, this championship was known as the Brawl Stars World Championship. It was held on November 15 to November 16, 2019, at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in South Korea. The first-place winner was Nova Esports after a 3–0 victory. Other participants competing included Animal Chanpuru, Tribe Gaming, 3Bears, Spacestation Gaming, and PSG Esports. With a $250,000 prize pool, it was the first international event for the game and had teams from North America, Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea.[33]

In 2020, the World Finals were held between November 21 and 22 with a base $1,000,000 prize pool. Half of the amount was raised through proceeds from an in-game championship package. Eight teams participated in the World Finals, which were originally planned to take place in Katowice, Poland, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PSG Esports was the winner of this year's championship with a prize of $200,000. The other monetary prizes were split between the other teams which won second to eighth place.[35]

In 2021, the Brawl Stars Championship started on February 20. There are eight seasons for the championship that occur once per month starting from February until September. The Championship Challenges and Monthly Qualifiers are each live for two days per season. The top eight teams from the regional Monthly Qualifiers go to the regional Monthly Finals. 16 teams from the Monthly Finals from all seven regions come together to participate in the World Finals, which are currently planned to take place from November 26 to 28 in-person in Bucharest, Romania. The prizes for 2021 are $600,000 in the Monthly Finals, and a minimum of $500,000 in the World Finals with opportunities to increase this amount through in-game offers.[34]

References

  1. ^ a b Minotti, Mike (December 12, 2018). "Supercell's Brawl Stars launches on iOS and Android". VentureBeat. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "'Brawl Stars' review: 'Overwatch' lite, on smartphones". Young Post. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Takahashi, Dean (February 11, 2020). "Supercell's off year: revenues of $1.56 billion and profits of $577 million". GamesBeat. VentureBeat. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Sholtz, Matthew (November 14, 2018). "Supercell's Brawl Stars is globally launching in December, and you can pre-register right now". Android Police. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "A Beginner's guide to your new favourite mobile esport". Red Bull. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "UPDATE: Tara's Bazaar". Brawl Stars. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Torres, Ida (June 17, 2017). "Brawl Stars is an upcoming game from the makers of Clash Royale". Android Community. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Hayward, Andrew (December 19, 2018). "Brawl Stars is a worthy, if simple, Clash Royale successor". Polygon. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "Brawl Stars Skins List (Summer of Monsters) - All Brawler Cosmetics". Pro Game Guides. December 26, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (May 13, 2020). "Here's everything you need to know about Brawl Stars' new Brawl Pass". Dot Esports. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Ahmed, Wasif (March 15, 2021). "What you need to know about the Power League in Brawl Stars". Dot Esports. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Release Notes: Club League & Gears Update". Brawl Stars. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  13. ^ Swan, Eva (July 7, 2020). "Everything you need to know about Brawl Stars' Summer of Monsters pass". Dot Esports. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d Hayward, Andrew. "Supercell on Brawl Stars, a mobile action game tailor-made for tournaments". Red Bull. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d Asarch, Steven. "'Brawl Stars' Game Lead Talks Lessons Learned After 522-day Soft Launch". Newsweek. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Webster, Andrew. "Supercell's new game mixes Fortnite and Clash Royale, and its out soon". The Verge. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  17. ^ Callaham, John (June 14, 2017). "Clash of Clans developer Supercell reveals new game, Brawl Stars". Android Authority. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  18. ^ Funnell, Rob (June 15, 2017). "'Brawl Stars' Has Soft Launched on the Canadian App Store, Android Version Coming Soon?". TouchArcade. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  19. ^ Sholtz, Matthew (June 26, 2018). "Brawl Stars is finally coming to Android, with limited access starting today". Android Police. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  20. ^ Vincent, Brittany (January 16, 2019). "Supercell's 'Brawl Stars' Clears Over $63 Million in One Month". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  21. ^ "Tencent's latest game Brawl Stars rakes in US$17.5 million in first week". South China Morning Post. June 23, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  22. ^ FRIENDS, LINE. "LINE FRIENDS partners with SUPERCELL for official Brawl Stars character licensing business worldwide". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  23. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (October 29, 2019). "Paris-Saint Germain to host Supercell's Brawl Stars Ball Cup". Dot Esports. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  24. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (March 20, 2020). "Brawl Stars launches Paris Saint-Germain Challenge, giving players the chance to win a skin". Dot Esports. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  25. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (March 28, 2021). "PSG Brawl Ball Cup 2021 kicks off in Brawl Stars". Dot Esports. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  26. ^ a b "Brawl Stars". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Slater, Harry. "Brawl Stars review - "Can Supercell make the midcore shooter cool?"". www.pocketgamer.com. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  28. ^ a b Bird, Campbell. "Brawl Stars Review". 148 Apps. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  29. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (March 14, 2019). "'God of War,' 'Red Dead 2' Lead BAFTA Game Awards Nominations". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  30. ^ Partleton, Kayleigh (January 11, 2021). "European consumers spent $14.8 billion on mobile apps last year". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  31. ^ Batchelor, James (January 29, 2021). "Brawl Stars is Supercell's fourth title to pass $1bn in lifetime revenue". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  32. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (March 18, 2021). "Brawl Stars' Championship Challenge to happen on March 20 and 21". Dot Esports. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  33. ^ a b "Brawl Stars Championship has $1 million prize pool in 2020". Daily Esports. December 15, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  34. ^ a b "Brawl Stars Championship 2021". Brawl Stars. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  35. ^ Ahmed, Wasif (November 22, 2020). "PSG Esports win Brawl Stars World Finals 2020". Dot Esports. Retrieved March 28, 2021.

External links