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Nex Machina

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 29 - 2017

Twin stick awesomeness.

 
Housemarque, the developers behind the addictively excellent Resogun, just keep on bringing out damn fine games. Their latest however, Nex Machina, takes things to a whole new level of awesomeness, perhaps in part due to the collaboration with Eugene Jarvis, the arcade master behind the likes of Robotron 2084, Defender and Smash TV. Or perhaps it is solely down to Housemarque’s evolution as a developer. Whatever the reason, it all becomes irrelevant once you start playing Nex Machina and full under its twin stick shooter spell.

 
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The objective is simple in Nex Machina, make your way quickly through the levels, shooting everything, avoiding being shot and trying to save some humans along the way. We are talking about some kind of alien invasion here, and the player happens to be the only guy who can save the world. Of course, there is a high score to achieve as well.

 
The levels are varied and beautiful, packed with colour even before the aliens arrive and the shooting starts. Not that there will be any time for the player to enjoy the sights, as from the very get go the action is fast and relentless. Finish one small area and the player is instantaneously zipped to the next, with barely a moment to rest. The player continues through these small stages until reaching a boss, which then must be defeated before moving onto the next level.

 
The different aliens that the player will be facing off against in hordes also come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, each with their own movement and attack types, keeping the player on their toes throughout. When combined with the mammoth task of taking down those bosses, it will come as no surprise to hear that Nex Machina is a difficult game, even on the more forgiving difficulty levels.

 
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Much like the objective though, the actual gameplay is quite simple too. As a twin stick shooter, the player moves with the left stick and fires with the right. There are only two other buttons to worry about. One button activates a dash move, which can be used to zip the character forward a short distance, evading enemies and moving through certain barriers. The other button activates special weapons, such as lasers or swords that can be picked up as power ups through the course of playing. The players basic weapon can also be upgraded through these power ups.

 
As the game is all about getting that elusive high score and bragging to friends, there are plenty of ways to boost that score. Firstly, most levels have a number of humans that need to be saved. Then there are all manner of secrets hidden on each of the levels, such as power ups, hidden humans and even alternate paths. The replayability of Nex Machina is phenomenal. Despite hte fact that a more accomplished player could get through the game in only a couple of hours, there is just so much here to keep coming back for.

 
Outside of the Arcade mode where most of the fun will be had, complete with various difficulty levels for the player as they improve, there are also other ways to play the game. Players can take on single levels if they wish, ideal for secret hunting, or they can try Arena mode in which the levels are played through with various modifiers, such as a time limit. Co-op play is also available, although limited to locally, for some truly chaotic twin stick shooting with a buddy.

 
All of this is just words though. The true magic of Nex Machina only becomes apparent when you play it. The way that the game flows, the way that the game is difficult but fair, the way the soundtrack facilitates an almost zen like state of awareness when fully immersed in the game. If I had to pick fault with the game, the lack of online co-op is a real shame. Also, the difficulty level is too high, even on the easier levels, although that probably says more about my gaming skills than about the game.

 
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For fans of the twin stick shooter, Nex Machina is quite simply one of the best and should be added to the library now. More casual gamers may find the difficulty somewhat intimidating, but even when you keep on dying, Housemarque have managed to make the game so compelling that it won’t be long before you are back for more.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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