Review: ‘Mechstermination Force’ (Switch)

Game logo. Game logo. HORBERG PRODUCTIONS

You know, when giant robot fights show up in games, I almost always assume it's due to some degree of laziness. Most of those types of games are pretty uninspired and by the numbers. Not so with Mechstermination Force.

You know how Contra had that guy who would just spray bullets at all the enemy soldiers in a dramatic slow-bullet style? Well, take that and make him fight giant robots (mechamechs) and you pretty much know all you need to know about this game. A bunch of giant robots are on Earth and it’s your job to take them out in increasingly elaborate ways. There is a bit of a story, but whenever giant robots and energy guns come into the mix, story takes a back seat. Just say you’re fighting for humans and shooting down robots and you have the plot in hand.

Playing on the Switch, controls were easy-to-mildly challenging. With all of the moving around in a non-3D space I would have felt more comfortable with a keyboard or mouse. Once you align it with old school arcade controls, though, it comes back pretty well.

The graphics are interesting. It’s old-school because it makes you this tiny character playing against this huge thing, so while you and other people aren’t rendered all that well, skyscrapers and robots are pretty detailed. Even the energy weapons look pretty good from a distance. I was a little disappointed when graphics changed into an annoying CGI style, like a poorly-made 90's computer animated cartoon, but other than that the atmosphere of a bright, almost too-clean world and its people (and the attacking robots) looked great.

The gameplay is exactly what you expect: you face giant robots and shoot them, figuring out where their weak spots are to take them down. It breaks down into the standard video game trope of finding the pattern, identifying weak spots, then slowly taking them down. It does it well enough to surprise and challenge (such as constantly changing robot types), but it’s also the same exact fighting style as it was decades ago.

The music isn’t as techno-like as I thought it would be. I was thinking it would be a lot like older games with their simpler tones, but what we got was a full orchestra rendition of action music. It fits surprisingly well, and it even gets your pulse pounding during a few robot battles. Sounds are more generic, but overall they gets the job done.

Mechstermination Force is a really clean game. I didn’t encounter any bugs whatsoever, and the frame rate never went down. The Switch can be a workhorse, and this game proves it.

Mechstermination Force is a good mix of classic Contra-style of play with modern touches. It could have been a little more inspired; I mean, fighting giant robots is usually the first thing people think about when it comes to sci-fi games. But playing is fun and challenging, and it takes skill. I had fun, and it’s always great playing a game made with such care.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.

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