Nex Machina Review

Developer: Housemarque Games

Publisher: Housemarque Game

Release Date: June 20th, 2017

Platform: PS4, PC

Housemarque games is back and if you think they fired everything at you in Resogun, then you’re simply not prepared for their next shoot ‘em up, Nex Machina.

No matter how you choose to dive into one of Nex Machina’s 3 modes, you’ll be thrown into chaotic rooms full of angry robots trying their best to overwhelm you. Each of the five world is divided into rooms where you’ll conquer wave after wave of enemies before progressing to the next. As you defeat enemies and reveal objects in the world, you’ll grow stronger by collecting power ups like new explosive weaponry or increasing your weapons range and spread. If you can survive the onslaught, playing at full power is a real…. Blast! There are other elements throughout the worlds as well, such as Disruptors, Travelers, Secret Humans and even hidden exits. All of these lend their presence to the sense of urgency they create. Humans can are vulnerable to attack or will simply run of time and disappear if you’re not fast enough in saving them. Disruptors will flee and Travelers will visit for a short amount of time as they swoop into the room in a way reminiscent of a bonus stage in Galaga.

Arcade mode will throw players into each world, one by one with a set amount of lives depending on the difficulty selected. Arena will task us to run through a world and get the highest score possible and earn coins to unlock new customization options for their runners like new color schemes and suits. Single World allows you to play through a world after you unlocked them in Arcade. Each world adds new types of enemies and a stylishly unique boss to defeat so Single World is a really good way to play through a level and learn the layout before approaching them in the Arena. There’s also a local play option as well, but players can only choose between Arena and Arcade.

What I didn’t like about the gameplay is the way power ups work. They randomly appear in the worlds and they aren’t always the same. Some of them do have set spawn points but they cycle through the other locked powers. What might be a devastating laser may end up turning into a sword at the last second, just as you finally reach its location. When you die, you lose one of them and if you manage to make it back to where you died, you can retrieve said power. If you’re not quick enough or die again, then its gone until you can retrieve it again. I also feel like there’s a lack of content, as each of the modes are virtually the same and don’t offer much variety. Each mode will count your score, one just tasks you with focusing on scoring higher for its main objective.

You travel to each stage in a world with a flash of bright light(and exit it the same way if you know what I mean) and enemies crumble, explode and dissolve as you blast them to dust. From a cyber forest, to an icy mechanical tundra and fiery volcano, Nex Machina is filled with beautiful worlds and an energizing soundtrack. What I loved most about it was the way it all blends together to create a truly wonderful sci-fi world. In my opinion, it really feels as if Housemarque games is trying to come up with their own rendition of Tron. I’m the User, flowing across the Grid and taking down my enemies in various worlds and the gigantic bosses that command them. I’m sure that’s a stretch but it really is the vibe I get while playing Nex Machina and it doesn’t help that your character in the game looks a bit like one of the Grid’s inhabitants.

Nex Machina is indeed a wonderful game. It’s stylish action and energetic beats will keep you going across all 5 of it’s worlds. My biggest complaint is its lack of content which even then, if you’re someone who prides themselves in obtaining the highest scores and finding all the secrets hidden in it’s nooks and cranny’s then it has a lot to offer you. The most important highlight of Nex Machina however, is that it just really, really fun and definitely worth adding to your library today.