Hardcore Mecha (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 08.02.2020 1

Review for Hardcore Mecha on PlayStation 4

From the first tutorial level of Hardcore Mecha, it's clear exactly what is going to be on offer. Giant Robots? Check. Government run Earth Defence Force? Double check! A competent run 'n' gun platformer that offers no surprises? Not Quite. What's on offer here has a fair few surprises, and a lot more hidden depth than the aesthetics and clichés may suggest. Take a look at the PlayStation 4 version to learn all about it.

The action kicks off instantly, putting the player in control of an Optimus Prime-looking purpose build monster/killing machine taking on Power Rangers Villain of the week reject. Simple to complete, controls are laid out simply through on screen prompts to put any budding robot pilot in good stead for any other missions. The Sentai/Ranger comparisons continue with a final cut from a lightning imbued sword out of nowhere, which leaves a hyped feeling for what's next to come.

Looking like a rejected Final Fantasy design, protagonist Tarearthur and his rag tag group of anime stereotypes are tasked with rescuing one of their own from a gang of terrorists by ploughing through wave after wave of cannon fodder and pre-scrap metal. Trusty Mecha Thunderbolt feels sluggish at first, until more prompts pop up describing effective use of boosting and aerial navigation. At first, this seems supplementary to the bread and butter of the experience, but from the first real boss battle and then throughout, It quickly becomes an essential mechanic.

Screenshot for Hardcore Mecha on PlayStation 4

It's in these boss battles that this shows some of its more enjoyable sections - dashing around the screen, juggling weapon power against boosting from floor to ceiling, looking for an opening to exploit. Difficulty is balanced enough that it's no cakewalk, but also not unfair. Skill is needed, and brings with it a sense of achievement when that rival powers down. One criticism, however, is how, with that much to juggle, controls often become a little confusing to keep up with. Three of four battles in, though, muscle memory takes over, and attack/evasion becomes second nature.

From initial deployment from the Phoenix space carrier, Thunderbolt feels as weighty as you'd hope for from a ten ton killing machine, but using a grading system for missions, as well as a collection of blueprints, all attributes can be adjusted. Surprisingly open to user interpretation, builds can be created specifically for most play styles. The amount of cash that can be spent on these builds is dependent on the performance throughout the main missions. All levels are also littered with secondary objectives to both advance the story and boost rankings and cash earned. Skirmishes can quickly become chaotic and overwhelming, but all are in a close quarter space with a very fair check-pointing system, to soften the blow for when death inevitably comes.

One of the nicest touches comes from the ability to dismount the Mecha with a quick tap of the gamepad. At first this seems like an addition purely added to press the occasional switch, and move through an odd gap or two. What a welcome surprise it was then to play a whole section completely on foot with the option to go in all guns blazing, or infiltrate the terrorist facility completely undetected. Avoiding easily fooled guards and spotlights was a delight, perfectly placed mission-wise. If it also sounds a bit familiar for a government operative to be sneaking around looking for a kidnapped person of interest, the "kept you waiting huh?" will certainly dispel any doubts. Sneaky throwing that line in, sneaky like a sneaky, sneaky snake.

Screenshot for Hardcore Mecha on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The decision of picking up Harcore Mecha is going to rest purely on if this type of platformer, and its over-the-top anime tropes' appeal. Your team cover all aspects of 99% of any anime show - cool and mysterious, happy and optimistic, sexy and not quite sure or their age, while the antagonists led by shadow hidden Xerxas, are a negative carbon copy. With the exception of the quite interesting levelling up system and skill tree, things unfold exactly as expected from level to level. The combat is good and of particular note, every boss battle is tense and enjoyable. It's a fun, stylised romp, with a plot that ticks all the "good versus evil" organisation boxes. Playing from start to finish isn't going to set your world alight, but what will be provided is a solid and fun run and gun, with some neat twists to break up the sections, and keep the interest right up until that last terror spreader falls under a metal Mecha boot.

Developer

RocketPunch Games

Publisher

RocketPunch Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Earth Defense Force?
Sexy and not sure of age?
Anime and skill trees?
Alright sounds like a winner to me!

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