If there's one thing that Switch needs more of, it's mech games so here's Marvelous Entertainment's very cool Daemon X Machina.
Daemon X Machina takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the moon got torn apart thus ushering in an army of evil robots. That being said, if you want to play Daemon X Machina for its story then perhaps you should think twice before diving in since the plot definitely takes a back seat to the high octane action. Heck, even the cast of characters are embarrassing with their goofy talk animations and trite dialogue that doesn't really add anything of substance to the experience. Obviously, if Daemon X Machina featured a unique story with characters that you can actually care about then it would be a much more immersive game but thankfully, its action is so much fun that you'll gladly skip the story sequences just to see what sort of unique situations the next mission will present.
Before getting to the gameplay, I'd just like to mention how incredible Daemon X Machina looks. Sure, it's not realistic but the visuals are super-stylish complete with gorgeous colour palettes and neon highlights. Plus, the audio is great with epic orchestral arrangements and gratifying gunfire and explosion effects while the mid-game voiceovers add a layer of urgency and are usually quite helpful to boot.
Back to gameplay, Daemon X Machina has intuitive controls and grants you the freedom to soar through stages and boost around which just feels awesome. Your weaponry is mapped to the shoulder buttons with 3 of them corresponding to whatever's equipped in your left and right hands as well as your shoulder. The other shoulder button is used to boost which consumes stamina but you have so much of it that you can boost for quite a long time. The array of weaponry is as you'd expect but there are some cool additions such as powerful swords and rocket launchers. It's very satisfying to shoot a rocket at an enemy only to watch a giant explosion set off then you rush in to get a few slashes in with your sword. You can probably guess what my mech loadout is. Anyway, flying is as simple as pressing the jump button and you can even pick up objects and throw them at your enemies which usually results in a huge explosion.
One nifty mechanic is the fact that you can absorb energy known as Femto in order to boost your abilities. More specifically, you can use it to create a mirage of yourself and switch between 3 stances that offer certain boosts. To further help in your efforts, you can play cooperatively with up to 3 other players via online multiplayer or local multiplayer but each player will need their own Switch and copy of the game. The ability to do so is very cool as it's a great way to show off your mech and meet other pilots.
In the end, the core gameplay is challenging, exciting, and so smooth that you'll find yourself enjoying the action without even thinking of the controls. There are many more facets to gameplay such as the ability to exit your mech and run around on foot. However, I'd like to discuss how you actually increase your capabilities on the battlefield. Basically, you're awarded credits upon completing missions that you can use to purchase body modifications for your pilot via various skill trees as well as develop, customize, and buy equipment via the shop and factory. When you're done with that, you'll swap out core parts and equip weapons while trying to stay within your Memory Usage allowance. The amount of customization options is fantastic and it makes your mech feel like it's your own creation.
Growing your capabilities may be satisfying stuff but being able to do so can be quite tedious. The strategy that I found to work best is replaying Free Missions while looting defeated enemy mechs for weapons and parts. Keep in mind, you can't replay the main Offer Missions and the amount of Free Missions is severely limited, especially early in the campaign so replaying the same handful of missions over and over again while earning a little bit of credits and slowly acquiring more powerful equipment becomes monotonous fast. On top of this, a few of the main story missions are downright annoying such as one where you have to escort perpetually moving cars while trying not to step on them. Why don't they wait and let me defeat all the threats before driving ahead? It makes no sense.
The action-packed gameplay in Daemon X Machina makes it worth checking out for any mech game enthusiast. As long as you don't expect the game world to offer any sort of engaging plot or characters, you're sure to have a fun time.
- + Awesome mech gameplay that's intuitive, smooth, and exciting throughout
- + Stylish graphics and spot-on audio
- + Loads of customization options
- - Story and characters are so lame and stereotypical that it's embarrassing
- - Could use more growth opportunities
- - Some missions are very annoying