For the bulk of 2022, we endured what I called the era of Vampire Survivors-likes. The game that became a mega-sensation on PC in January of last year spawned all sorts of similar experiences on mobile. Some of them very good, some of them just so-so, but all of them very much cut from the same cloth as Vampire Survivors. Then in December, the real-deal Vampire Survivors launched on mobile and from that point on it seemed sort of pointless to bother with any of the VS-likes that came along.
And at first blush you might think that about Brotato. “Oh, another one of THOSE" I can hear you mutter under your breath. Yes, they might look very similar and in some ways they are, but Brotato is very much its own thing distinct from Vampire Survivors, and it’s also very much worth your time if you enjoy roguelikes and completely over the top mayhem.
Brotato is indeed a top-down shooter/melee survival game where you’re fighting against wave after wave of enemies that get increasingly more difficult the longer you go. There is a bit of persistent progression and quite a few things to unlock, but the entire game isn’t centered around the meta progression in the same way VS is. This is more of a pure roguelike shooter that forces you to make strategic choices about which weaponry and items you’ll be equipping in between rounds to try and take on the more difficult enemies ahead.
This is extra fun in Brotato in particular because you can equip 6 weapons at once, and it’s a blast to pair together the various long range, short range, melee, and other weapon types and turn your little spud into a whirling dervish of absolute destruction. Very, very satisfying.
On that topic, the action in Brotato is especially action-y. Arenas are tight quarters as opposed to the sprawling levels in that other game I keep mentioning. Enemies move fast and when things really get going it gives me vibes of some of the best top-down and twin-stick shooters that use to grace mobile way back in the day. I’m specifically thinking of the stuff Radiangames has put out, as the screen when playing Brotato also tends to get littered with enemies, bullets, and pickups across practically every inch of the screen just as Radiangames’s partical-laden shooters did. This game becomes a glorious mess and I absolutely love it.
I know it’s easy to write this one off as yet another Vampire Survivors clone, but I can assure you that’s not the case. Brotato is in fact a very different type of action game, while still having very similar core elements. You may prefer the more methodical play and long-term carrots on sticks of VS or you may prefer the white knuckle insanity of Brotato, or if you’re like me you love both flavors in their own way and are extremely happy to have both on a device that fits in your pocket.