Override Mech City Brawl Review
Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC and Microsoft Xbox One
When it comes to pop culture icons, not many come close to giant robots and gargantuan monsters wreaking havoc as they tower over huge cities and vast landscapes. Override Mech City Brawl not only succeeds in making the fantasy an enjoyable experience to play but also executes it with a battle system that is accessible to new players yet deep enough to entice those who love the thrill of robot-on-robot competition.
The game’s story is a familiar one. An unknown alien force in the form of giant monsters is attacking planet Earth and it’s the job of a special global defense force laced with B movie tropes to protect it. It’s an oldie but a goodie as each piece of dialog is filled with that familiar “it’s so over-the-top it’s entertaining” goodness that is prevalent with the genre. The story of Override is told through the game’s Arcade mode where you choose a mech and embark on missions across the globe where you will lay some giant robot smackdown on some giant alien scumbags. Each mech is piloted by its own pop culture referenced pilot, ranging from a Japanese mech league rising star to a cosplaying anime fan. The story doesn’t change much depending on the pilot, though some of the dialog does have some differences to accommodate the various tropes and references. Each mission follows the same formula: head into a real-world locale, kill waves of enemies and collect rewards. Even though it’s quite repetitive, the game’s combat system is fun enough to make the experience feel engaging and exciting.
Override’s battle system is straightforward and easy to grasp. Thumbsticks are used to control mech movements and camera while attacking is delegated to the shoulder and trigger buttons, one for each limb. Holding down each button can charge an attack which can then be unleashed for even more steel-infused pain. What’s even more interesting is that more than one limb can be charged and released in either quick succession or at the same time. This, however, comes at a hefty cost of heat meter which acts as a reverse stamina bar. Every attack increases the bar and once it fills up your mech overheats rendering it unable to attack or use its boost for a short period of time. Mechs are also able to utilize a special meter to unleash devastating special attacks by holding down Square and pressing one of the attack buttons. Metageckon’s rolling death wheel ability, for instance, is incredibly satisfying to use. Finally, if a mech’s health is low enough, it can use their ultimate ability at the cost of their entire special meter. By combining the timing of charged attacks, the restrictions of heat bar, and the buildup of special meter, Override Mech City Brawl has the potential for a game that encourages mind games and baiting your opponents to make mistakes as is prevalent in more traditional fighting games which makes both online and offline battles against human players exhilarating. It’s a shame that finding opponents online is slow due to lack of players as it’s come to be expected by such small releases.
Regardless of how you choose to play, however, Override is a bright and colorful sight to behold. Mech models shine and gleam as though they were made out of actual freshly polished metal. Every beefy punch and quick sidestep feels smooth and responsive, though attacking may feel a bit slow at first due to the game being a mech brawler at heart. The city and landscape arenas are all well scaled to make the player feel like they’re actually piloting a giant mech. Most buildings and structures are destructible either by crashing into them or landing an attack, an experience which can feel somewhat weightless as it only takes one hit to take them down. The mechs and aliens, on the other hand, feel strong and heavy, especially when jumping. The game’s soundtrack contains that familiar giant robot marching feeling that will make every fight seem like a grandiose event of epic proportions.
As an overall package, Override Mech City Brawl has more than enough content to justify its low price point. Arcade mode will deliver several hours of giant alien battling goodness but the real meat of the game lies in its multiplayer which is further amplified when playing in couch-based party battles. There are plenty of unlocks in the form of skins, costumes, and silly hats to adorn on your favorite giant metal mount of destruction. There are also weapon loadouts to unlock which can later be called down during battle to deliver even more pain upon your foes.
Override Mech City Brawl is a hilariously fun experience when it plays to its strengths which is in its battle system and multiplayer. While the game’s single-player campaign can be fun, some players may find it repetitive and too easy. It’s a shame that the online portion isn’t as populated to allow for a snappier experience as the game has a lot to offer for both those looking for a competitive challenge and the ones who just want to ram a giant metal fist into another bot’s face. Thanks to its low price tag, however, maybe you can entice your friends to join in on some of the gear-grinding action.