Review – Override: Mech City Brawl
Everybody loves giant robots. Whether it be Transformers, Gundam, Voltron, Jaegers, few things can bring people together like monolithic titans kicking the crap out of each other and giant monsters. Despite that, it’s a tragically underrepresented genre. They are still few and far between despite popular titles such as Titanfall or Armored Core. There are even fewer that channel the simple childish joy of watching brightly colored mechs going at it, preferring a more militaristic approach. Override: Mech City Brawl brings the fun back.
Override is a 3D brawler in which you can choose from twelve unique mechs and engage in various battles throughout a variety of maps based on real-world locations. There can be up to four players depending on the mode, either online through matchmaking or offline through split-screen multiplayer. There’s a variety of modes including 1v1, team battles, and a special co-op mode where multiple people take control of a single mech, each person controlling a single limb, and try to fight. There’s also a single-player campaign, but it’s very barebones and built upon the same core game as the multiplayer section. Fortunately its core is rock solid.
Never before has a mech game felt or played this good. Movement is quick, with fast dodges, a jetpack for hovering over the cityscape, and a quick jump for when you’re knocked down by a good blow. Combat is brutal, with each button representing a different appendage, allowing you to chain together kicks and punches for your own private combo, or forget finesse for a powerful charged blow to blast your opponent back.
Blast is definitely the appropriate word too. The entire map filled with skyscrapers so small compared to your titanic stature. What’s even better is that those buildings are destructible. Knock an opponent back, and they don’t just fly back, they destroy all buildings in its way, until it eventually comes to a rest on a pile of rubble. While the animations for falling buildings aren’t the best, likely a performance reason to keep the game running at a crisp framerate, it doesn’t change the thrill of knocking someone into the tallest building on the map and watching it come down. This is what people want from a mech game. Robot designs just screaming for an action figure release, rampant destruction of civilization, and laser swords, one of the possible weapon drops during a match, if you turn them on.
There’s also a campaign, but it’s very short, lasting only three to four hours. The writing is painful. There’s absolutely no voice acting, characters are forgettable, and it gets repetitive really fast. It’s modeled like XCOM, with a strategy section where you have limited customization of your chosen mechs, can research new upgrades using the campaign currency, and equip any collected weapons if you so choose. After that, you go through a series of missions fighting an army of Kaiju attempting to take over the planet.
It’s fun, make no mistake. Mowing down monsters in your mech is definitely a dream come true, and the game plays just as well here as it does elsewhere. There’s even a decent variety of enemies to face, but despite that, they all quickly start to feel the same. Every mission is exactly the same too: kill all enemies before the time limit. You can see how if a little more effort had been put into mission design, story, and into the strategy layer there could have been an amazing mode in here, but sadly, this is definitely not the case.
There’s also a cosmetic customization system that works both in SP and MP, though don’t worry: no lootboxes are ever seen in this game. There are skins in varying rarities, as well as hats and accessories to personalize your mech. It’s nice, but I found that the mechs’ base looks were good enough to a point I wasn’t anxious to alter them in any way, but some people live for that kind of thing. It’s there if you want to.
All in all, Override: Mech City Brawl is at its core a great game. Never before has a mech game looked this good, been so lovingly designed and detailed, or felt so right. There are some issues with how barebones it feels at the moment, with a campaign that quickly outstays its welcome and only a handful of maps to fight on. Still, the game is a lot of fun to play, and with some more maps tossed into the rotation, that’s a problem that can be easily fixed.
Parts of the game, especially each of the mechs which are lovingly modeled and detailed, are gorgeous. The overall art and aesthetic to the game are solid as well.
Controls are intuitive, movement and combat are fluid, and each mech has special abilities and attacks that greatly add variety to combat.
It has sound at least. Not memorable in the slightest, but it doesn’t make your ears bleed. Sound effects are just as average, and there’s no voice acting to speak of.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Multiplayer is loads of fun. There’s a decent amount of mechs at the start to keep things interesting as each genuinely feel different form each other. Single-player modes mostly fall flat, with a repetitive and short campaign and nothing else to speak of.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Override: Mech City Brawl is available now on Steam and PS4.
Reviewed on PS4.
A copy of Override: Mech City Brawl was provided by the publisher.