Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Override: Mech City Brawl Review (XONE)

Override: Mech City Brawl is a giant robot fighting game that is big dumb fun in all of the most wonderful ways. It feels like the modern evolution of Pipeworks Studio's trio of Godzilla brawlers from the mid-2000's, but it moves a heck of a lot faster than those games ever did. With great mech designs, intuitive controls, and ridiculously fun city smashing gameplay, Override: Mech City Brawl is a must play for anime-style mecha and kaiju fans. Continue reading our full review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Modus Games
  • Developer: The Balance Inc.
  • ESRB Rating: "T" for Teen
  • Genre: Arena brawler
  • Pros: Intuitive controls; fun fighting gameplay; great mech designs; fantastic presentation
  • Cons: Focus on online play
  • Price: $30 (standard) $40 (Super Charged Mega Edition)
Buy Override: MCB
Override: Mech City Brawl features twelve distinct giant robots duking it out in a fighting competition that takes place in nine locations around the world as well as one level on the moon. The robots aren't licensed but some have clear inspirations so you have a Gundam lookalike and a Mechagodzilla-type along with a bunch of fresh and unique designs and they all look great. 

The game is primarily designed as a multiplayer game - both online and local for up to four players - but it also has single-player content as well. In addition to a training mode you can also play the local versus mode with up to three A.I. opponents. There is also a story mode that has you living out your "Pacific Rim" fantasies by fighting off an onslaught of increasingly powerful (and growing in size) giant alien monsters. Seriously, this could have easily been a "Pacific Rim" game and no one would have batted an eye. It looks and plays exactly like you'd want a PR game to be like.

Back to the online multiplayer focus - It's kind of weird, honestly. This is clearly intended to be a competitive online esport-type thing, but it doesn't really have the meat and potatoes to get there. The gameplay just isn't deep or dynamic enough to produce compelling long term competition. Half of the achievements are tied to online play, which seems a bit over the top considering it is already a niche indie game that isn't going to generate a huge online audience. It just seems like a focus on more single-player content would have been wiser.

As far as gameplay goes, Override: Mech City Brawl is relatively simple but very fun. Your robot's limbs are mapped to the four shoulder buttons - arms on the bumpers and legs on the triggers - and it is very intuitive. By holding an attack button you charge it up for a more powerful attack. You can also hold the X button and press an attack button for a handful of new attacks like projectiles or more flashy melee strikes. Movement and defense-wise you can jump and dash and use a shield and it all feels great. Everything is governed by an overheat meter, so fights are generally a dance of darting in and out to try to land some attacks before backing off to cool down. The game overall is very fast and fluid and intuitive and just makes sense. While the controls are the same for every character, they all still feel distinct thanks to unique attacks, movement speeds, and effective reach lengths. 

Because it is generally pretty simple and the matches do become sort of predictable, a feeling of repetition does start to set in after a while. There's only so much you can do with simple punches and kicks, after all. With that said, however, the characters do all feel different enough and playing multiplayer - local multiplayer is always more fun than online, by the way - will definitely keep you entertained enough to make it worth it. All of the characters have a ton of unlockable skins - and you unlock a skin after basically every match you play - so there is a ton of stuff to do. And if you're feeling especially gutsy you can play a multiplayer mode where each player controls individual limbs of the same robot, which can be a hoot. The $30 MSRP is fair, and paying an extra $10 for the Mega edition that includes exclusive skins and 4 DLC characters is a solid deal.

The presentation in Override: Mech City Brawl is very appealing thanks a sharp and clear visuals and a bright and vibrant color palate. The mechs all look great and the fully destructible environments are very impressive even if the buildings all crumble at the slightest touch.

Overall, there's a lot to like in Override: Mech City Brawl. It probably won't be the next huge esports fad, but it'll definitely be a hit with giant robot fans with friends to play local multiplayer with. It looks great and the robot designs are awesome, too, and the gameplay is intuitive and accessible and very satisfying. Giant robot and kaiju fans will have a blast with Override: Mech City Brawl. Buy it.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.