Critical Play: Balance

The Basics

Game: Brawl Stars is an online, multiplayer shooter game where players play with hero characters on different arena maps against other players.

Created by: Brawl Stars was both developed and published by Supercell, a renowned mobile game developer famous for creating hits such as Clash of Clans and Clash Royale alongside Brawl Stars.

Platforms: iOS and Android

Target Audience: Brawl Stars can be played by most ages with simple basic controls and cartoony graphics. However, the skill cap for the game is quite high, so older, more experienced players can spend hours refining their craft while having fun. Additionally, being a mobile game, it’s very easy to pick up and casually play any time you have a few minutes.

Formal Elements

Since Brawl Stars has multiple game modes, the objective is often different. Your general goal is to beat the other team whether this means capturing all the gems, defeating all enemies, or scoring the most points in a soccer-like mini-game. The basic controls are taught at the beginning with a game against bots, but after that, strategies for each hero and game mode are up to the player!

Each player plays against multiple other players, either on a team, a pair, or alone. Each game mode has a different set of rules (in “Brawl Ball” you shoot soccer balls, in “Duo Showdown” you can respawn if your teammate is still alive). However, the basic movements and abilities of each hero don’t change. Each game mode also has different resources such as power-ups and launch pads that change game strategies. Lastly, each map has a unique set of boundaries that force players to stay closer together, or far apart, or slowly push them together (via a deadly cloud of gas).

Types of Fun

Brawl Stars uses fellowship as its primary source of fun. The different abilities of each hero naturally push you to work with your teammates. Players feel a great sense of triumph when their team defeats the enemy team. The game brings players closer together over time as their teamwork and communication improve.


A diverse set of heroes allows for creativity in strategies and play styles. Source: Jude Brawl Stars

The diversity of heroes accommodates players with different play styles and allows everyone a chance to succeed This diversity also allows the development of new game modes which keeps the game fun and fresh!


Although this is a multiplayer game, Brawl Stars does a good job with pacing. Players are gradually introduced to new game modes, even to the point where the game does not allow you to play more advanced modes until you reach a certain level. This is very helpful for newer players because it can definitely quickly become overwhelming with more advanced mechanics.

BRAWL STARS New Supercell Game Intro/ Tutorial Tips and Tricks! - YouTube
Brawl Stars slowly eases the player into new game modes. The first game mode is shown here, where players are directed to move, shoot, and pick up gems to win.

As an asymmetric game, Brawl Stars decently matchmakes players with those of similar skill levels. In initial levels, players actually play against bots until they get enough practice to play real players. Once the matchmaking starts, more inexperienced players are matched with each other, but there are times (e.g. when not many people are online) when the skill gap is drastic enough that inexperienced players become frustrated and experienced players get bored.

Every match in Brawl Stars is unique, and a near-infinite number of strategies can be used to succeed. With every game update, the game objects (heroes) get buffs and nerfs that change the meta of the game. Supercell tries its best to balance these changes and new hero additions, but it’s often the case that another update must be released because some heroes are too over/under-powered. These hero changes alter the strategies that players take, so this can be unbalanced if some players simply aren’t aware of the strategy.

Failures & Improvements

A major balance failure is the constant stream of balance changes and “broken” heroes when new ones are released. Supercell often releases over/under-powered heroes that ruin the game for players who haven’t unlocked that hero or don’t enjoy playing them. Most robust beta-testing, and perhaps a test game mode that doesn’t affect rankings, would be helpful in improving player experience and continuity between updates.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.