Hard as balls, fun as hell!
That opening sentence sums Nex Machina perfectly, twitchy dumb challenging fun. For those who doesn’t know, Nex Machina is a fast-paced twin-stick shooter from Housemarque. When it comes to these types of games, Housemarque has delivered the best entries in this genre and Nex Machina, to me, is their best game to date.
Many, I believe, will compare this to the excellent Resogun and they’ll be kinda right. Resogun was an excellent game, but Nex Machina is just better. Once you start, if you are good and you need to be good, the action just keeps going becoming more exciting and more challenging. You, again if you are good, also get more powerful with new helpful abilities and powerful weapons that will obliterate anything in your path. Just speaking about how fast-paced chaotically good the action gets doesn’t do it justice and I believe even videos do not fully transmit the beauty of it.
This is one game you just have to play for yourself to fully appreciate it. I completed the game well, the main “story”, in just one sitting, around 3-4 hours as I didn’t want to put down my controller. I was completely hooked and 120 continues later, I managed to roll the credits. Yes, 120 continues and 4-5 lives per continue, that’s a lot of me dying over and over again. But I didn’t stop playing. Sure I was swearing and cursing like a sailor, but I never thought of backing down from the challenge.
I knew it could be done, I could see through the matrix and see the bullets and lasers patterns and I dodged and weaved through them mowing down everything that moved, but then the game would introduce a new enemy or a new attack completely throwing me off my game. This was even more challenging during the boss fights. Once I had figured our the pattern, the boss entered the second phase with completely new attacks and patterns. Then the third phase… I have never cursed this much while playing a video game and contrary to popular belief, I found the whole experience to be quite therapeutic.
I was very happy, satisfied and extremely proud of what I had just accomplished especially since I was stuck on the final boss for around 50+ continues. And no other game in recent memory has ever done that for me. I believe it was the sum of all of it parts. Sure, in games like Nex Machina gameplay is king, but the presentation here played a bigger role than expected, maybe even equal to that of the gameplay. The futuristic cablepunk art style is gorgeous and it looks stunning on the big TV. Unfortunately, I don’t have a PS4 Pro, so I can’t fathom how amazing it would look, feel and play on 4K, but if it’s 4 times the 1080p experience then that’s quite the looker IMO.
Even though you are just a tiny dude the game does an incredible job of making you feel very powerful. The screen fills with bullets and lasers flying everywhere and when the enemies explode they fill the screen with tiny voxels. It all looks and sounds spectacular. The musical score is also fantastic. Futuristic techno tracks give you that push, that drive to clear a level as quickly as possible racking up that score and multiplier. And once you complete a level everything shakes and trembles as your tiny dude flies Iron Man style to the next level without ever breaking the pace.
I still have a lot left to play and see. As far as I know, there are hidden levels to unlock and play. There’s an arcade “one continue” mode that should be fun to play and set a high score. Also, there’s a local co-op mode I have still to try with a friend. Maybe there’s some other mode I am forgetting about right now, but the general idea is that Nex Machina has a lot to offer especially if you are a competitive player looking to set that unbeatable high score.
If you haven’t got it by now, I really like Nex Machina and I believe that you will too so just go and get it right now for your PS4 or PC and you can thank me later.