Thanks to Horberg Productions for the review code
Title: Mechstermination Force
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 04/12/2019
In this action game from the developer behind Gunman Clive, you take control of a new recruit who helps out a defense force to take out giant mecha invading earth!
While the two Gunman Clive games went for a more simple look with old school shading meant to replicate a western vibe, (with the sequel adding some more color to the mix) Mechstermination Force just goes for your standard 2.5D look, and while Clive returns as a playable character with his own unique look, the other playable characters look boring.
Thankfully, the main bosses that you focus on taking out have a lot more charm to their designs, and the music is pretty solid, even if it’s not nearly as memorable as the Gunman Clive soundtracks.
Mechstermination Force is a Boss Rush action game where the only focus of each stage is to defeat the boss. The only enemies besides the bosses come from whatever they summon to try and distract you, leaving just you and the boss to duke it out. This is an interesting concept and I had a lot of fun with the first few stages since you deal with very simple mechanics and don’t have much in terms of weapon variety at first, with just a basic auto fire weapon and a melee weapon that can smash red orbs.
However, this game’s difficulty curve feels like a rollercoaster that adjusts its speed at random, and not for good reasons. The game never gets too brutally difficult if you just want to play to finish the main game, but there are some rough spots here and there that seem to be inconsistent. The way the game works is that you have a batch of bosses to take out in any order you wish, then you go for another set of bosses. Rinse and repeat until the end of the game four hours later.
The problem is that some bosses in earlier batches can be a lot more difficult than the ones near the end of the game, and vice versa, with some really easy fights near the end of the game compared to some of the earlier ones. Some of this has to do with the fact that you don’t have certain upgrades, (Double Jump and Wall Climb) but the earlier fights were made to be beatable without those in mind so it only makes things easier for the rematches.
Instead, it’s the lack of weapons that can make the early game challenging, as the variety that you can get at those early points are almost mandatory to take down certain weakpoints. While everything could be beaten with your standard weapon, the bosses can be bullet sponges with it (giving me awful Contra III vibes) and even some near the end of the first batch are pure torture to try and take out with it. Defeating a boss gets you a lot of money that can go towards new weapons or health upgrades, but rematching them won’t get you nearly as much, even if you finish the fight with all three stars. (which requires beating a boss in a VERY strict time limit) Thus, a bit of grinding may be needed if you’re stuck on the last boss of a batch, which can be annoying.
Luckily, co-op is here to make those rough moments a lot more enjoyable. You each have your own health meter and you also share the same weapon loadout, meaning that one person could choose the laser and the other could pick the bomb and team up for some interesting combos. This is easily the most enjoyable way to take out bosses and by far the easiest way to get all three stars on a rematch, which helps with the game’s rough start thanks to having two guns over one.
With all that said, this game does have a few technical errors as well. Some of the bosses can move in such a way that I have accidentally clipped through them and gotten stuck in a damage loop that required a restart of the boss fight. Once I was fighting a giant tin-man and as I was about to hit a weak point on his head with my melee weapon, I shot up into the sky and had to restart that fight as well. While patches have smoothed out a few of these bugs, unfortunately the clipping bug is still a thing that can happen from time to time.
In conclusion, Mechstermination Force is a fun boss rush game with several annoyances to deal with. While the game is great fun once you’ve upgraded your weapons or have a friend tag along, the inconsistent difficulty curve and the occasional grinding can be a big pain to deal with, even though all the boss fights are enjoyable with good trial and error.
However, the game just doesn’t have the same sort of magic that Gunman Clive had, and the great co-op and weapon selection are really the only reasons to buy this game over several others in the genre. I feel that if there was a bit more content and if the waves were more consistent with the difficulty of their bosses, then this game could have been something truly amazing, but as it stands right now, it’s just a good little action game with little else to note.
I give Mechstermination Force a 7 out of 10.