Friday, April 5

Review: Mechstermination Force [Nintendo Switch eShop]

One of the benefits of making indie games with smaller budgets is that you can get very focused experiences that are somewhat bite sized but also fulfilling. One flavor there hasn’t been too many examples of on the Switch thus far is a solid boss rush title. By eliminating the filler and just getting right down to the boss battles you get a very challenge that, depending on your skill level, will last a handful of hours, make you work for it, and then be done. Mechstermination Force falls squarely into this category and absolutely delivers, putting you against truly massive robots that you’ll need to carefully take apart piece by piece.

After picking your hero you’ll get right down to the action, with even the tutorial consisting of a giant robot so you’ll learn the ropes properly. In general the rule is if you see a spot that’s yellow you’ll need to shoot it and if you see a spot that’s red you’ll need to smash it with your hammer. While you’ll get a few pieces of gear as you progress, including magnetic gloves that will let you climb metal walls, and boots that will allow you to double jump the basic rules of engagement never change and yet the bosses continue to have surprises in store for you throughout.

If there were no ability to get upgrades the game would just be cruel but that isn’t to say that when you find yourself a bit overmatched and stuck it can’t be a little aggravating. As you destroy new robots or return to ones you’ve already defeated you’ll get to work on improving your time and how much health you lost, earning stars and more money they better you do. With the money you’ve earned you’ll be able to boost up your precious health but more critically purchase new weapons, some of which will make you truly formidable. That isn’t to say there won’t be circumstances where one specific weapon will be of more use but in general as you get deeper into the weapons they can be pretty insanely powerful.

While part of my main issue with the game no doubt relates to your scale relative to these massive robots I will say that your mobility often feels sluggish. There are simply situations where unless you were able to anticipate something coming and start moving early it can be easy to get knocked around and not be able to do much about it. You run a little too slowly, your jump has enough of a delay to it that at crucial times you’ll absolutely need to anticipate something coming so you’ll move in time, and there are simply situations that beg for a good doge roll. There can be some wonkiness with hit detection and your ability to grab onto things with your magnetic gloves, but that usually seems to relate to not being properly oriented somehow as you’re trying to scale a wall while jumping out of the way of enemy fire. While sometimes the control problems can be irksome thankfully for the most part they don’t rain on the game’s parade too much.

Overall, Mechstermination Force is a pretty tight and enjoyable retro sci-fi robot stomping party… though it will typically take a few attempts to keep the robots from stomping you instead. While you’re always fighting some sort of robot and the general rules for all of them is roughly the same I’ll give credit to the developer for continuing to change things up and keep it fresh through to the end. A couple of them were super-aggravating to deal with but aside from my mobility complaints in general I can’t fault the design. If you’ve been looking for pretty intense action that’s super-light on filler Mechstermination Force will be one to consider picking up.

Score: 8.5

  • A great retro sci-fi look and feel to everything
  • Each robot boss has their own surprises and tricks up their sleeves
  • Consistently challenging but generally always fair

  • Your mobility feels a bit sluggish in places
  • The detection on your grab isn’t always accurate and the game could desperately use a dodge roll
  • Aside from the boss battles there’s not much else going on