Batman: The Brave and the Bold has been a huge hit for Warner Bros. Interactive since it started airing on TV in 2008. It's a show that, like Justice League, sees Batman team up with various super heroes from the DC Universe, except unlike Justice League, Batman is the main guy - all the others are just there to make up the numbers and play supporting roles. It's an ideology that WayFoward Technologies, the developer, has taken into their design approach too.
There isn't one consecutive story in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Instead, it plays out much like the TV show would as there are four different stories. Each story sees Batman team up with a different side-kick, with the first being Robin, then Blue Beetle, Hawkman and Guy Gardner. Because of this, each of the locations changes too as Batman is trying to thwart a different villain, or sometimes even two.
Once each "episode" starts, there are very few cutscenes and most of the story is told on the fly, or through brief encounters with the antagonist. Quite a lot of the time, Batman will engage in conversation with his side-kick, which is actually quite a nice touch. The Blue Beetle, for example, has some great comedic lines and it helps to move focus away from the gameplay that's featured throughout.
At its core, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a 2D side-scrolling beat 'em up. I say at its core, because there are some other elements thrown in there too, like a poor attempt at a side-scrolling space shooter too; yes, Batman is throwing around Batarangs in deep space. In the typical gameplay though, there is the basic attack, performed by A and this has a few different modifications when different directions are pressed. B button controls jumping and rolling, while the C button is used to perform defensive moves, like blocking and evading. There are also some Wii Remote specific controls, such as performing hard attacks. These are performed by shaking the Wii Remote while either standing or in the air and will do more damage at the cost of energy. To top it off, there's also a super attack dubbed the "Hammers of Justice", which can be performed by shaking both the Nunchuk and Wii Remote.
It's not terribly deep, but this is slightly alleviated by gadgets and support. Batman and the supporting characters can assign various gadgets to the d-pad and these can be used by pressing the Z button. This can range from the Batarang to a Laser Sword and it can make combat considerably easier. If it's too challenging though, Batman can call in support by using the 1 button.
The main problem though, and this is what also makes it quite boring sometimes, is that there's very little challenge involved. The enemies hardly differ from stage to stage, with the exception of the last one, but even then, there are still the generic exploding enemies. Nothing really requires the player to think up any kind of strategy and even if it does, the game has infinite continues, so it's not really much of an issue. You can just keep hammering down until they're dead. The cost is losing 100 credits, if you have 100 credits.
Credits themselves can be picked up from defeated enemies or secret locations and can be used to upgrade Batman, or his side-kick's, gadgets. It's something that can be entirely ignored if you want and it won't affect experience, because most of Batman's gadgets are awarded just through playing the story anyway. It would have been nice it there were other things to spend credits on.
The game adopts a cartoon style, which actually works quite well as the characters look exactly like they do in the actual TV show. There are some dodgy moments though, where the camera pans in and the low-resolution of the game can actually be seen. Quite why this is done isn't really clear, as the game looks perfectly fine when panned out. The voice acting and sound in general is top notch, as the majority of the voice actors from the TV series have reprised their roles - it adds a lot of authenticity and as mentioned earlier, makes the whole experience much richer.
The game can be completed in just over four hours, with each "episode" lasting around an hour. After completing, there isn't a whole lot to do. You can go back and try to reach previously inaccessible spots and there's also the Bat-Mite Challenge, which pits you against 10 rounds of progressively harder waves of enemies. There's also a time stipulation of 2 minutes per round as well, to keep things a bit more challenging.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a decent game to accompany the TV show of the game name. It features the same great cast of voice actors, the same visual style and also presents itself like the TV show, with four different episodes. However, the game also presents almost no challenge and while it is fun for a little while, a lack of real variety in the enemies causes it to become a bit of a slog. Couple this with very limited replay value and you end up with a decidedly average game.