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Mini-Mech Mayhem

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 8 - 2019

Strategy in the VR world.

FuturLab, the developers behind the excellent Velocity 2X, are taking a slight detour from the teleporting space shooter with their latest title. This time around, in Mini-Mech Mayhem, the developers are challenging the player to think strategically as they play a board game exclusively on PlayStation VR. Be prepared for cute robots and plenty of planning ahead as up to four players move around a board while trying to guess what their opponents will do, all in the name of winning a round.

mmm1 (Copy)

VR seems to be slowly coming into its own, with certain genres of game proving to be uniquely suited to the virtual experience. One of those genres that works well in VR is the tabletop board game. Playing a tabletop game in VR gives the player that real world point of view, while also being able to take advantage of the joys of video games. As an added bonus, the lack of movement does a great job of keeping that annoying motion sickness at bay. FuturLab’s Mini-Mech Mayhem may at first sound like some kind of fighting game, or worse, a collection of mini-games. However, in reality it is a tabletop game that certainly has some similarities to Chess, and really proves to be a great fit for VR.

Of course, there are the usual video game trappings to pull the player in, such as a cute little robot that the player will be able to customise when they begin, and further customise through unlocked goodies along the way. There is also an avatar to customise, giving players a choice of how they present themselves to the world. The presentation is very family friendly and I am sure that the younger VR players will get some fun from all of the different personalisation options in Mini-Mech Mayhem, even before they get started with the strategic gameplay.

The thing is, Mini-Mech Mayhem may be strategic, but it is not all that difficult to understand. Gameplay takes place on a chess-like grid board and the player is tasked with having their little robot win rounds by either reaching a marked square on the board, or taking out other players. The slight complication comes from the fact that the player has to program their robots actions and lock them in before seeing what the opponents are doing, as the actions will play out in sequence once all of the players have made their choices. This means to be successful, the player will have to not only make their own plans, but also predict what their opponents are going to do and foil them.

mmm2 (Copy)

Some lengthy tutorials will fill players in on everything they need to know. The player will program three actions at a time, which could be moving, firing a weapon or a combination of both. Little rules are revealed, such as not being able to spend all of the actions on moving full tilt in one direction. The robots can only move up, down, left and right, although firing a weapon can also be performed on the diagonal. Interactions come not only from shooting opponents robots, but also from potentially nudging them out of the way, or into a trap, which only works if the opposing robot is actually where you think it will be when the action comes up.

The game is based much more about predicting enemy actions than anything else, which can range from fairly simple to downright impossible when playing against the AI. Playing against human players is where the real fun lies though, as there is a certain amount of doubt as to whether an AI is clever or benefiting from already knowing the players moves. All of this predicting does mean that there is a fair amount of luck involved in the game.

The strategic side of the game is bolstered with intercept abilities, special skills that can do anything from change the position of the robots on the board, alter their movement or shooting, to stealing power from another player. These powers represent another unknown for the cunning player to take into account and raise the strategy level of the game.

When it comes to playing in VR, Mini-Mech Mayhem is a really nice and easy experience. The visuals are bright and friendly, and the soundtrack is upbeat and enjoyable. Move controllers are the preferred way to play the game, making use of an in-game dashboard with all of the robots controls on. It does take a little getting used to, and does seem a bit convoluted at times, but it all helps with the immersion. Thankfully, there is really nothing by way of motion sickness, which is handy as the game can drag on for a while.

mmm3 (Copy)

Mini-Mech Mayhem is a happy game that hopes to bring tabletop strategy to PSVR gamers. While the multiplayer is where the action is, there is still fun to be had in playing against the AI with different difficulty levels, and even some puzzle levels to play around with. The game could use a bit more variety, and does tend to move at a slow pace. However, it is easy to get into and has a surprising amount of depth. For any PSVR owner looking for some strategic fun, Mini-Mech Mayhem should be their first stop.




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