Last night my group wanted to play Strange Brigade. We didn’t have enough time for a campaign mission which can sometimes take upwards of an hour. So we tried out the horde mode setting. Originally, when we purchased the game, this was the only mode we thought there was but it’s taken us a while to play it because we’ve been enjoying the campaign so much.
Horde mode is a solid game mode. It’s a good thing we played a bit of the campaign first because a lot of the mechanics carry over to this mode. But there isn’t a tutorial, or at least not one as good as the campaign. Overall it’s not too hard to figure out. You kill enemies in waves, collect gold and can spend that gold on various items, weapons, and unlocking doors.
Unlocking doors seems to add rooms with puzzles and occasionally health potions. The puzzles are an odd choice. There are 25 seconds in between each round to upgrade your items and spend your gold. So you can spend those trying to figure out the puzzle or just do it during combat. We didn’t end up completing any of them because the rounds were pretty intense by the time we unlocked some of those rooms. I still have no idea what kinds of things unlock when you figure them out. You also have the chance to spend gold to get a special weapon out of a crate. This is randomized so you can get anything from a crossbow with exploding bolts to a machine gun that freezes enemies. I found these essential as we climbed the waves.
We started Round 1 with only pistols and good ole’ fashion fisticuffs. The next round I was able to buy a weapon upgrade to a bolt action rifle. The enemies were the same ones we had been facing in the campaign for the first few rounds. Round 5 they minotaurs started spawning, probably the most challenging enemies we had fought so far. They’re tanky, run really fast, and hit like a truck. By round 10, I was starting to get the hang of things. Some new enemy types were spawning. The ones I particularly liked were skeletons with purples hearts that explode and kill other nearby enemies.
It looks like weapons upgrades are tied to your progress in the campaign. I was only able to upgrade to the third tier of bolt action rifle which I had bought during the story missions. I was only able to buy 1 extra grenade type that I had also unlocked earlier. I don’t mind this, I like the campaign mode enough that I know I’ll be playing it and unlocking things.
We ended the night after round 11 where we faced off against 3 giant minotaurs with swords. After killing all the normal enemies in the wave we had to take these bad boys out. The key was to shoot the glowing crystals on them until they fell over. Then a player had to run up to them and hold the left house to charge up their amulet that somehow damaged the giant sword-wielding cows.
We did all of this in about 45-50 minutes. The rounds are quick but very hectic. I found it to be a good mix of difficulty with the enemy density being overwhelming even with a 3 man group. After exiting there was a message that said I unlocked new starting spawn locations and that this was the highest wave reached on this map. I don’t know if we will have to start at Round 1 when we play again but I’m interested to see how the new spawns change things up.