Game review: Mechstermination Force is Cuphead with robots

With over a dozen different enemies in Mechstermination Force the amount of imagination that’s gone into the design and their attack patterns is highly impressive. Gunstar Heroes is another obvious influence, especially the classic Seven Force encounter, but again it’s a shame that the art design is more or less the same all the way through, as the cheap plastic look of each boss does start to get old before the end.

A more serious problem though is the movement controls, particularly the rather floaty jump which always feels less precise and reliable than it should do. We also hate that the sound effects for your guns are so quiet, destroying what should be one of the most satisfying elements of the gameplay. The sound is poor in general, with a weak soundtrack, and there’s an overall lack of showmanship when it comes to the front end and things like the instant appearance of the game over message.

When you’re making something as specific and specialised as a boss rush game you’ve got to get everything exactly right and Mechstermination Force is just slightly off. The lack of visual variety is a shame, despite the impressively gigantic robots themselves, and the difficultly level is so punishing it really does wear down your enthusiasm at times – especially if you’re not already into this sort of thing.

The ultra-low price forgives most sins but even though we are already predisposed to this kind of game (and robots in general) we still didn’t enjoy it as much as we expected to. The co-op option certainly helps, if you can find someone else willing to spend the time analysing enemy attack patterns, but the real difference between this and Cuphead is that Cuphead feels like a complete experience whereas this really does just feel like the boss rush mode from another, larger game. And we think we’d rather just play the main campaign. It’s just a shame it doesn’t exist.

Mechstermination Force

In Short: An enjoyable companion piece to Cuphead, but despite some fantastic enemy designs the single-mindedness and lack of visual variety doesn’t have quite the same charm.

Pros: Great boss designs, with an impressive range of attack types and tactics. Fun co-op options and appreciably low price.

Cons: The unvarying art design and lack of any real story or characters makes the game seem more one-note than necessary. Floaty jump is frustrating to use. Weak sound.

Score: 7/10

Formats: Nintendo Switch
Price: £10.99
Publisher: Hörberg Productions
Developer: Hörberg Productions
Release Date: 4th April 2019
Age Rating: 3

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