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Skellington bothering co-op shooter Strange Brigade is out now

Absolutely everything in this shot is exploding, except the skeleton pirate.

Ah, the undead. Nobody likes them, really. Not even the vampires – far too pretentious. Those wanting a fresh opportunity to put the walking dead firmly back in their graves may be well served by Strange Brigade – Rebellion’s 1930s pulp adventure-themed squad shooter, which is out now.

Designed for four player co-op (though playable solo), players control a globe-trotting band of magic-wielding, gun-toting adventurers who specialise in looting forgotten tombs and putting grumpy old pharaohs back to bed.  Below, a plummily narrated launch trailer. Tally ho, and all that!

Old adventure serial aesthetic aside, Strange Brigade a fairly straightforward third-person shooter, very similar in style to Rebellion’s enjoyable Zombie Army Trilogy. Unlike the Sniper Elite spinoff, Strange Brigade is a bit more focused on close combat, with special powers and interactive traps providing alternative ways to clear big swarms of monsters. There’s a little more to it than just running and gunning. There are simple some puzzles to solve as well. Some are mandatory for progression while others are optional, rewarding the party with extra loot and special weaponry.

After watching some of it streamed today, I can confirm regular boss fights against larger undead beasties and the occasional minotaur-like figure. From what I’ve seen they’re mostly of the ‘shoot the glowing weak point’ variety with little depth or subtlety beyond clearing the additional wave of minions. While I admit I’d like some more depth, if boss fights are too taxing they can really drag a co-op game like this down.

I also hope for your sake that you enjoy the narration in the trailer, as he’s all over the game too. He’ll be calling out mission objectives and continually rambling over the action. The narrator applauds last-minute dodges, particularly good shots and the occasional kill-streak with a cry of “King George’s beard!”. Completely daft, but strangely likeable.

Strange Brigade is out now on Steam and Humble for £40/€50/$50, or £65/€80/$80 for the Deluxe edition with the season pass. Anyone who buys the game within its first month gets a fifth playable character – Winston Bey, Gentleman Explorer – as a bonus.

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Dominic Tarason

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