Nintendad

[Review] Mechstermination Force – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Hörberg Productions
  • Publisher: Hörberg Productions
  • Release Date: 04/04/2019
  • Price: $11.99/ £10.99
  • Review code provided by Hörberg Productions

Blast from the Past

Run and gun games used to be a dime a dozen. Contra, Metal Slug, and to an extent, Blaster Master and Mega Man were the top dogs. Now this is a genre that is mostly left to nostalgia, except for a certain cup-based shooter. I am always happy to see this genre try and make a comeback, as I spent a vast amount of time playing games like these as a kid. Bertil Hörberg, the mastermind behind Hörberg Productions, unleashed his new creation, Mechstermination Force, which aims to satiate those who crave the white-knuckle rush that the classics gave us. Is this game able to stand toe-to-toe with the greats or is it just a nostalgia wrapped package that doesn’t hold up? Let’s dive in and see for ourselves.

The Story So Far…

When I first heard about this game, I won’t lie, I was very excited. It looked like a fun shooting game and other than Cuphead, we haven’t seen many games of this style of late. After starting the first level, I knew that this game was for me. The story, which could have sounded very heavy, was presented in a light hearted manner. You are the lone survivor of a robot attack and are Earth’s only hope! Your whole team was taken out in one fell swoop and you are thrown into a fight with a giant mech. This is where the serious aspect of the game comes to light, the gameplay.

Who You Gonna Call?

The gameplay is very serious. This game handles just how you remembered the classics to handle, but better. Unlike the classics which are skewed by the goggles of nostalgia, Mechstermination Force is a well-oiled machine. It all feels very responsive, which is important as this game will send everything at you, including the kitchen sink. Not to mention the fact that the game pits you against the largest enemies they could fit on the screen. There was one fight that I wasn’t sure I could see my character. Because of this, I will say, I had a better experience playing this game in handheld mode than on the TV.  

This game is the ultimate underdog experience, and this is a good thing. The feeling you get when you topple a giant mech with just a machine gun is exhilarating. The basic game falls into a loop: fight a boss, earn rewards, buy upgrades, rinse repeat. The upgrades and add-ons to your guns make this cycle feel smooth. I never felt like I had to grind to unlock a new weapon or health upgrade, but you do have that option. Upon finishing a level, you are graded based on how quickly you exterminated your prey. The faster the time, the better the reward. For completionists, getting three stars on every level will prove a challenge.

Mechanical Rhythms

The graphics of Mechstermination Force tend to harken back to the bright and colorful sprites of NES run and gunners. But it’s done with a lovely 2D/3D style that helps to bring the character models to life while keeping a cartoony and somewhat campy style. It all comes together with a top-notch soundtrack full of upbeat, catchy tunes. The amount of songs available is a bit small, but not one of them is weak.

Nuts and Bolts

Mechstermination Force is a completely solid game, but it is not without its flaws. I noticed that sometimes projectiles would miss me completely when I should have been hit, and other times I cleared them, but the game registered a hit. It wasn’t often, but in some of the later game’s hectic scenes, I felt like I had a few unnecessary deaths.

While this is a shorter game, I found it to be the perfect length. My first playthrough clocked in at a little over 3 hours, but this could be extended by unlocking all the upgrades and getting three stars on every course. Depending on what you are looking for in a game, this could be either good or bad. But again, I found it to be the perfect size.

Final Thoughts

Mechstermination Force showed me that lightning can strike twice in the run-n-gun / boss rush genre. This adventure, while short lived, was filled with many thrills, chills and oil spills. Tight controls and a punishing, but fair difficulty, make this game as solid as they come. After playing this, I definitely want to go back and experience Bertil Hörberg’s full catalog, as I have clearly missed out.

Pros

  • Extremely tight gameplay
  • Bright color graphics
  • Bite sized missions perfect for quick play

Cons

  • Odd hit detection
  • Smaller sized game

Verdict
Mechstermination Force is a perfect addition to the Switch’s library and a great run and gun game that can stand along the classics of yore.
4.5/5

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