Daemon X Machina Review
Daemon X Machina, the mech-shooter developed by MARVELOUS!, is set to release on Nintendo Switch this Friday, September 13th. Daemon X Machina puts you in the driver’s seat of the awesome battle-mechs called ‘Arsenals’ – which, if we’re being honest, look like something straight out of the Gundam universe – and pits you against the overwhelming number of AI controlled tanks and other vehicles that you must prevent from taking over the world. While not the most original storyline, any robot fighting game is worth taking a closer look it. Let’s dive right in!
Merc Mech Madness
In Daemon X Machina, you play as a freshly recruited mercenary, destined to pilot your robotic killing machine, or Arsenal, to combat the AI forces that are terrorizing the world. Your character is fully customizable, and while you will rarely see them except for cutscenes (or if your mech is destroyed mid-combat), it is still a nice touch. The visuals of Daemon X Machina are also quite stunning, easily one of the most impressive games on the Switch to date.
Once your hand-designed merc is ready to go you will be launched into a perfectly balanced tutorial to begin getting a grip on the admittedly complex combat controls. The balance between ground, air, targeting, your two primary weapons, shoulder weapon and 2 pylon weapons takes a bit of time to grasp. If you decide to play with the gyro controls on, you are in for an entirely new level of challenging.
Once you wrap your head around the controls the fun can really begin! The high-speed, guns-blazing combat is everything you could hope for out of the flying robot shooter, genre. Is that a genre? Well, it is now. Most of your early-game enemies will crumble after a few shots but once the enemy’s forces start including other Arsenals your skills will be tested.
Custom Your Robo
After your first couple of missions you will have some new parts to equip to your Arsenal. These range from a whole host of different weapons, armor-body upgrades, and processor upgrades that alter the fundamental stats and workings of your Arsenal. When equipping new parts to your mech, pay close attention to your Memory Usage cap, as you are not allowed to exceed it. Some components will increase your maximum Memory Usage, allowing you to equip more powerful weapons and armor.
Arsenal customization is not limited simply to functionality, however, as you have total freedom over the colour scheme, down to each individual armor region. Different decals and patterns are also available to be unlocked as you progress through the game, creating an even more personalized killing machine. The game even supports saving Arsenal presets, allowing you to custom-tailor multiple mechs and swapping your playstyle at the touch of a button!
Rinse and Repeat … and Repeat
Unfortunately, except for the copious amounts of indecipherable dialogue in between battles, that is pretty much it for Daemon X Machina. You will unlock various shops around your hangar that allow you to purchase new components for credits or offer temporary buffs to your Arsenal, but these do little to break the repetition that creeps in rather quickly.
This is not an unsolvable issue, and while it may be too late now I would love to see levels that were not built arena-style. Each level has a set boundary that you must stay within as you circle through the air obliterating your opponents. If there were maps that made you journey through a pathway as a convoy guardian or some such, fending off ambushes as you traveled it would really help break the repetition.
Really anything that gave the level a start and end point instead of a battle dome that you wage war in until you are the last one standing would be of great benefit to the replayability of Daemon X Machina, whose worst enemy is not the concept or the execution, but rather the one-dimensional feel of the core gameplay itself.
Overall, Daemon X Machina has a great design and so many parts of it are done well that I really want to love it, but I can’t. With nothing to break up the sheer monotony of delving into the same arena to blow up the same opponents on repeat, I just cannot love this game. Yet. It is not too late for the devs to add a little more depth to the gameplay, at which point I would give the game a sterling recommendation.
Learn more about Daemon X Machina here: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/daemon-x-machina-switch/