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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Review: Nex Machina (PS4)

Through a combination of discounts and Amazon credits I got a copy of Nex Machina for $4.50. Resogun was one of the first games I finished on the PS4, and I had similar high hopes for Nex Machina after the developers revealed that it was a mash up of Robotron and Smash TV. Jon Blow and I used to burn quarters playing Smash TV at Berkeley, and I had fond memories of the experience.

Nex Machina is a twin stick shooter. You run around the level, rescuing humans and defeating enemies with an upgrade-able main weapon and several side weapons that are all too short range to be of any use to me. You can also do a dash that lets you run through enemies and obstacles. The game is difficult: even on Rookie mode I simply could not get through the first series of stages until I'd mastered dash. Even then it was a bit of a slog.

The game has a local co-op mode. Unfortuantely, it's so hard that I couldn't help Bowen out and he ended up dying a lot, which made it a lot less fun for both of us. I eventually sat down and ploughed through all 5 worlds (it takes a couple of hours), but by the time I was finished I didn't feel like going back and playing it again at high difficulty levels, which was not how I felt about Resogun.

Nex Machina hasn't sold well, causing the developer to say that they're not going to make any more arcade-style games. I'm not surprised. None of the style and verve of Smash TV is there, and it's difficulty curve is too challenging. There's also times when I couldn't tell what on the screen was a safe place to step on and what was not, indicating that the game needed a bit more of a tutorial or needed to be more consistent in its use of colors.

The best thing I can say about the game is that it's short and so won't overstay its welcome, but that's not saying a lot.

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