Note: The price tags listed are at time of purchase which may have been during a limited sale.
When you play your video games, do you get tired of all those pesky things you do between each boss? What are they called…um, ya know, levels? Mechstermination Force hopes to rectify that by pitting you against one Giant MegaMech boss after the next, after the next, after the next, after the next. My first thought was, “Ah, like Shadow of the Colossus, but in the form of a throwback platformer.” And yes, it is similar to Shadow. You climb up the mechs using your myriad of upgraded weapons, so that you can conk them on their weak points with a glowing, extendable sledgehammer. Conceptually, that is pretty nifty.
Thankfully, Mechstermination Force is a fairly well-made game. The first three bosses vary nicely. It doesn’t feel like you’re simply beating on the same mech over and over again. And each is challenging in their own ways. The A.I. is decently adaptable; there is some level of variation in the patterns. The graphics are crisp, the colors really pop, and the mechs look cool. The controls aren’t very complex, although the left joystick takes advantage of the pressure sensitivity by controlling both the movement and the aim. This, at times, made it a touch frustrating, because I couldn’t be as precise as I wanted to be, but for the most part it works fine. The biggest issue I took with my fight against these mechs is with the repetitive nature of the music. It didn’t quite even feel like boss-level music, but (as my roommate postulated) rather the music you’d listen to before hitting start on the game. When I sit down to play this again, I’ll probably just throw some hip hop or grandiose classical music on in the background. Throwbacks can be fun, but knowing when to update an element can pay off in huge ways.
Final word: The thing about boss fights is there isn’t a whole heckuva lot of complexity. You figure out the patterns, and if the controls work in your favor, you beat the boss. It becomes a grind, and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t even gone back to the remarkable Hollow Knight in a while, even though I’m so close to finishing it. If there aren’t enough variables thrown in, that grind can become tedious. And when things become tedious, they can become frustrating. I started to feel my frustration levels start to rise. Even Shadow of the Colossus gave you grand, sweeping landscapes to traverse between each boss. Honestly, though, this game is still well worth the price tag.
Price Tag at Time of Purchase: $11.99
Developer: Hörberg Productions
Publisher: Hörberg Productions
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Steam
What the Golf?
Last year, the indie game that stole my heart was The Untitled Goose Game. There was a sense of joy in anarchy that permeated the small community that this Goose inhabited. In that, you were the one behind the anarchy. Now, you get to watch a world of anarchy unfold before you. I present to you What the Golf?, which is kind of a sports game, but more a spoof of golf games, but really, at times I don’t even know that it knows what it is except a laugh. And I laughed…quite a bit.
You take on the roll of the…golf ball and traverse the interiors of a lab where it seems like scientists are experimenting with how to make golf interesting and fun. Every hole you go into somehow manages to turn golf on its head. These subversions happen sometimes in the form of quick puns that follow the hole. Other times, the developers press a joke so far that even they ask themselves, “What?”…as in “Sorry, we were really high and thought that would be funny, but…what are we doing again?”
Going into details about this game I feel would do you, the player, a disservice, because it would be essentially like telling you all of the punchlines before you watch the next John Mullaney special on Netflix. It would strip you of the same joy I felt while playing.
I will say this: With such a simple premise and the potential for repetition, there was none. I was constantly surprised at where the developers took each hole. I constantly found myself saying, “WTF?” while LOLing.
Final word: A resounding “you should buy this if you care about gaming.” The ingenuity and creativity that have been spun into this ridiculous world are gleeful. This is like, what if Robot Chicken, Monty Python, Mel Brooks, or Abrams and the Zuckers Brothers got their hands on a video game. Complete and absolute joy in controlled disarray.
Price Tag at Time of Purchase: $14.99
Initial Release Date: September 19, 2019
Genre: Sports game
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS, Macintosh operating systems, Microsoft Windows, Linux
Nominations: The Game Award for Best Mobile Game, BAFTA Games Award for EE Mobile Game of the Year
Publishers: Triband, The Label, Fig Publishing Inc., Fig