We have seen it quite often in the last few months. More and more indie developers are jumping on the Switch band wagon, hoping to find the succes like some higher selling games have seen like Stardew Valley, Enter the Gungeon and others. Off course not every game releasing can become a million seller, and those who have great gameplay and unique features have the highest chance in rising to the top. Developer Hörberg Productions is one of the developers who have the knowledge and the chance in finding said succes, especially with their latest game Mechstermination Force.
Set in 2024, the world has been set upon by vast numbers of giant automated monsters which have been funny enough named MegaMechs. After everyone else is wiped out, it obviously falls to you as humanity’s last hope to join the Mechstermination Force and blast those dastardly mechs to kingdom come, while attempting to not become a glob of former humanity underneath their giant metallic feet.
Mechstermination Force has allot of similarities to run and gun shooters like Contra or, more recently, Cuphead. It also blends in some elements from Shadow of the Colossus, because the only thing you do in this game is fight off the giant mechas who threaten to destroy the last of mankind. When you aren’t off fighting these giant mechanical monsters, you are in your base stocking up on new items or weapons and having a chat with the NPC’s who help you understand what is going on lorewise. If you are lucky you can take down a boss in around 5 minutes, but don’t expect them to go down easy and with each one having his own defenses, things might not seem as easy as it looks.
The thought behind each boss fight is always the same. Find and destroy all the red cores on the giant mecha in order to take it down. It sounds fairly easy, but doing so is a different story altogether. Every boss has a unique look and setup to follow and each one has more and better weaponry to defend itself from your own weapons and baseball bat (which oddly enough is needed to destroy the red cores). The most important thing to do is learning some of the patterns in which the giant will attack and destroying his turrets and armor before everything is safe enough to progress further to his core. But the say to it will undoubtly challenge you and make you fail if you’re not cautious.
Allot can happen all at once, turrets aiming at you that you need to avoid, you have to get higher up in order to get a better aim at that armor piece, all the while the giant is moving around and you have to make sure you aren’t squashed like a fly. When all these things are happening everything keeps on looking crisp and runs at a steady 60 fps.
When you destroy the mechs you earn coins, which you can use in your base shop to upgrade your health, weaponry and bullets. Doing so eases the game a little bit, but if you so wish not ot upgrade your character you might find yourself in a world of pain fairly quickly. If you want to get the best items the shop offers you you will have to go back and grind a few of the bosses, as they are failry pricey. But with the great run and gunning the game has to offer we never really minded going back for more. It also helps you rack new high scores which are always nice to get.
During the game you will also get a few upgrades that make your character more versatile, like boost boots or magnet gloves. Magnet gloves make climbing around the Mechs a lot more fun, and adds verticality into some of the bigger Mechs. The Boost Boots give you a double jump, which makes traversal much better. Although I wish these were introduced much earlier in the game, or that you could use these upgrades in earlier battles when they weren’t available yet.
Another thing the game has is co-op. If you are in a pickle you can easily invite a friend to help you plow through the battles and take down the mechs together. We only played a few matches in this mode, but saw that everything kept playing at the same nice pace and we had no real trouble of finding our way up the boss hill to find the red cores.
Sometimes the action on screen can become a little chaotic as well. When you hit a core you could be flung across you screen, not really seeing where you will land or there could be so much going on that you have a hard time following it all. Offcourse it can always get chaotic, learning the patterns will help you in the proces, but if you get tossed completely random that’s a little less fun.
One other thing that is a little less fun is that the coins and health you get as a reward for destroying something can sometimes fall out of reach, which makes the loot lower then you expected and the grind a little longer before you can get your new weapon or bullet type. You also cannot remap your buttons in the settings menu, which didn’t really bother us all that much. But we believe that might frustrate some who wish to play the game with a different setup then that the game has to offer.
Allthough the game has just a few nuisances, the run and gun gameplay and the ton of unique boss battles makes this game a joy to play and fans of Contra or the more recent Cuphead will find a great boss battle themed game in Mechstermination Force that is a must-play if you like 2D action shooters.