Review – Nex Machina: Death Machine
There is one game I have never removed from my PS4’s scarce 500GB hard drive ever since I’ve first played it: Resogun. Dare I say, that game was the best title to be released during the PS4’s launch window, with its simple to learn yet extremely challenging arcade-styled gameplay. From that moment on, developer Housemarque became one of my favorite pseudo exclusive developers for the PS4, so I was naturally looking forward to their next game, Nex Machina. And boy, what a fantastic game this turned out to be.
Just like Resogun was a modern take on the arcade classic Defender, Nex Machina can be considered a modern take on Robotron 2084. It’s a fast-paced twin-stick shooter with literally hundreds of enemies onscreen at any given time, tons of obstacles to avoid, and humans to save in order to get extra points. You have one normal gun, a secondary weapon which needs to be picked up and has to be cooled, and a dash mechanic. One hit, and you’re dead, and you need to restart the current level from the beginning, losing any bonus you’ve acquired throughout it. You’ll die a lot.
Nex Machina is a very challenging game, and I can’t praise it enough for being this way. Granted, I died a few times right after the game started as I was still trying to figure out the controls, and did find that a little bit cheap, but once I found out how to play the game properly I was having a blast with its insane level of challenge, just like an arcade from back in the day. The amount of enemies onscreen is gigantic, while the amount of space you have to run away from said enemies is the complete opposite. Nex Machina wants you to go completely berserk against all enemies, blasting them off before they do the same with you.
While everything’s absolutely fine and dandy with Nex Machina‘s gameplay department, it does have a few flaws. Bear in mind they are not game breaking flaws, nor do they make the game look overtly bad, but they still should be mentioned.
One of my main gripes with it was in its sound department. While I absolutely loved the soundtrack, which oozed a heavy synth-infused 80’s vibe, I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed with the fact Nex Machina recycles the voice clips from Resogun. Remember that female robotic voice that made you feel a little bit dead inside every time the words “human lost” were mentioned? That same exact voice is back, and its return in a game completely different from Resogun felt cheap and completely out of place. Weirdly enough, this time around, the robotic female doesn’t talk via the controller’s microphone, though. Another little gripe was with the level of detail of the game’s characters in comparison to its very well-detailed environments and sublime lighting effects. The developers clearly didn’t put quite as much work into the look of the characters.
Nex Machina is a mandatory title for any Playstation 4 owner. There’s not much else that needs to be said, it’s just that good, and for less than twenty bucks, it’s one of the biggest steals you’ll be able to find on the PSN store. Get ready for some brutally infuriating arcade sessions, always with a smile on your face.
Reviewed on PS4.
Nex Machina is also available on PC.