Review – Implosion

If there’s one thing I can’t help but have a grudge against it’s mobile gaming. If there’s just one thing I have an even bigger grudge against, it’s when a mobile gets ported to a console. The reason for it is simple: most ports I’ve played in recent years were either severely mediocre (Rudymical) or, literally, the worst game I have ever played in my life (gosh darn Life of Black Tiger ).

Implosion, a new release for the Nintendo Switch, came to shut me up and make me reconsider my prejudice towards this kind of game. It is one of the best releases for the console so far, and it just so happens to be a port of a Taiwanese iOS game.
Nintendo lawsuit incoming!

Implosion is an isometric hack & slash game which feels like a mix between the movement and camera angles of Diablo coupled with the insane action and speed of a Platinum game. The game’s themes tick all the boxes for things we nerds love: there are mechas, there are samurai swords, there are mutant zombies, there’s a post-apocalyptic setting, there’s banter between characters. You can’t go wrong with robots wielding swords, and you’ll quickly get immersed in the game’s setting and lore, especially given the fact that the voice acting is actually pretty decent, with good lines of dialogue and above average deliveries. You don’t always need to hire Nolan North or Troy Baker to make great character portrayals, it seems!

The strongest point of the game is its gameplay. As previously mentioned, it’s a mix between Diablo and Platinum hack & slash games. Your character’s main weapon is his trusted futuristic sword, and you can make various kinds of combos with it in order to slash tons of enemies onscreen. The combat is fantastic, with the speed and fluidity being a feast for the eyes. The joycon’s HD rumble is very well implemented in this aspect, as you feel each blow you deliver to your enemies.

Implosion gives you bonuses in the shape of both experience points and credits the bigger your slashing combos are. Those credits can be exchanged for new parts and equipment for your mecha, in a system that reminded me quite a bit of Diablo‘s. Your mecha has tons of different attributes and a lot of slots for you to tinker with. You can add many different badges and additional pieces, with the same Diablo vibe of making you drool over a new piece because it can give one extra percent of a specific attribute. The equipment menu is a bit confusing at first, given the fact the game gives you no tutorials about it, but you’ll soon learn how to handle it.
Tons of attributes, tons of slots.

Besides the very enjoyable melee combat, your character can also fight enemies with the right analog stick. All you need to do is aim at whatever you want to shoot at with the stick and your mecha will shoot in that direction automatically. Given the isometric perspective, it might take a little while for you to master this aiming method, but you’ll quickly zap foes in no time.

Another element in Implosion that deserves praise is its campaign. The campaign is surprisingly long, especially for a game that costs 12 bucks at launch. Clocking at around 10 hours, the game is complete with lots of previously mentioned dialogue, lots of cutscenes (in the shape of both CGI FMVs and hand-drawn stills), and very entertaining boss fights at the end of each chapter. Those monsters are huge and can pack quite a punch before being put down. Granted, those fights are all about memorizing their attack patterns, but that doesn’t make them less enjoyable.
Five against one? Hm, seems fair enough.

I’ve been praising Implosion non-stop so far, but the reality is that the game is far from being perfect. For starters, while it’s impressive that the game constantly maintains a very solid 60fps even when there are quite a handful of enemies onscreen, the visuals aren’t that impressive. Blame it on its iOS roots or the size of its development company, but Implosion‘s graphics look like a late-gen PS2 game at best, which makes it look pretty unimpressive when playing the game on a TV screen. The visuals are more forgiving when playing the game on portable mode.

Another element that deserves a bit of criticism is the duration of most of the campaign’s missions. Once again, Implosion‘s mobile roots are very apparent, as most missions can be beaten very quickly, some of them in less than 3 minutes. Thankfully, the game features a lot of levels, and the fact each one has a few hidden secrets (which reward you with badges and credits once discovered) improves replayability a lot. One way to counter the lackluster duration of the game’s missions, once again, is to play Implosion on portable mode. Choose a mission, beat in a few minutes, all while you’re in line for a movie or waiting for your fast food order to be ready.
You know an action game is good when you can barely see what’s onscreen and you’ll still enjoying yourself.

One last enjoyable surprise is an extra mode called “Another Story,” which is unlocked after you beat the game’s first chapter. In this mode, you play as a different character, some sort of armored space marine who focuses more on ballistic combat than swordfighting. The gameplay is centered around shooting tons of characters onscreen with your guns, laser beams and grenades: the safer distances allow you to go even more aggressively towards enemies that attack you in even bigger waves than the ones from the main storyline. Another Story is a great mode to play in between the main story missions. You even have a robot dog sidekick who fights alongside you, and to top it off, it has an extremely sarcastic sense of humor. Can’t go wrong with that!
Hello beautiful

Implosion is one of the biggest surprises of 2017. It’s a game that proved me wrong, not all iOS titles are lazy freemium cash grabs developed with the sole intent of draining your savings as quickly as possible. It’s filled with content, a very decent level of polishing, great voice acting and very delightful gameplay. Granted, its levels are, for the most part, way too short, but that can easily be tackled by enjoying the game in portable mode. Having such a great (and cheap) hack & slash on-the-go is not a bad thing at all. A mandatory title for Switch fans.

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: iOS (but please, buy the damn Switch version instead!)