Most importantly though, as you do start to get to grips with things you'll feel like a total badass. By far the most exciting thing about playing Nex Machina
is the gameplay itself. For each situation, there's a series of mechanics in place to get you out of it. The quick dash moves you a few paces away from where you were while also making you invincible. It's a tough skill to master but once you're there and you couple it with the dash explosion ability you'll be zipping about stage leaving nothing but monster parts behind you.
The idea of these abilities in something like Geometry Wars
would seem insane. They appear to make the player way too overpowered. In that game you had smart bombs and that was your lot, but giving more power to the player means the developers can up their game.
The various different enemies in Nex Machina
offer the higher challenge to match the extra power. Each new bad guy offers a new problem to keep in mind. There are the smaller ones that arrive in packs and slowly move towards you. The bigger ones who are more interested in taking out the humans before focusing on you. The towers that explode into small discs that leave a trail of bullets behind them and so on.
Playing through each stage reminded me to 2016's Doom
. You'll work on a list of priorities not only on who you take down first but how and that will change the more you get used to the mechanics.
For example I started by focusing on the bigger guys to make sure they didn't kill humans before I got to them, then sweep up the little dudes. Once I got to grips with the special weapons liked Power Shot (a charged long range beam) and Smart Bomb (a protective shield that will decimate any enemy in close proximity) I decided that letting them rough up the good guys before I swooped in to save the day wasn't the worst idea. That way I had time to work on securing secret exits or taking out special enemies.
The more I played the higher my scores would go up. I mean, they're not great. I look at some of my friends' scores and wonder how they were even possible, or if I could ever compete with them, but it didn't really matter. Instead I just focused on personal improvement and even that wasn't the most important aspect of my play. What made Nex Machina
an instant restart type game was how good it felt to play.
It evokes the feelings I got from playing Titanfall 2
. Some runs would be weaker than others but it was more about the isolated moments. Escaping situations that seem impossible or dashing around to collect five humans in as many seconds. It has that rush of feeling like you're a pro player even when playing on easy in the early levels. That's why I would die and start it all over again.
Apart from Arcade mode there isn't really that much to Nex Machina
. There's a single stage mode that has different conditions to try and mix things up but more importantly it has its own in-game achievements much like Geometry Wars
that give you seemingly impossible tasks to do that may not lead to improving your score but do enough to change things up and give you something to work towards other than the straight-up point chasing.
In terms of longevity, some might see Nex Machina
to be a little light on content to keep you playing for too long, but then those people really aren't interested in the genre in the first place.
For me this is the game that will finally remove Geometry Wars
as the twin stick shooter I occasionally boot up to remember how much fun can be had firing away at thousands of enemies while squeezing through the smallest gaps between bullets and watching that score rise from thousands to millions.
That is, once I'm finished with playing it for hours every night.
+ Looks Great
+ Plays Great
+ Makes you feel like Big Boy Barry
- A little light on game modes
SPOnG Score: 9/10