Nex Machina is a perfect example of when a developer makes gameplay exceptionally fun and addicting. The team at Housemarque are known for making games that excel in fast paced action that will keep players coming back for more again and again. Nex Machina is no exception to this as a twin-stick shooter that provides as much challenge as it does fun. The urgency to wipe out enemies on screen keeps the momentum of the action constantly moving, yet still rewards players for taking the moment to explore their surroundings and discover helpful secrets. You won’t be finding everything the first time you play through Nex Machina, but you’ll definitely be coming back again to see what you missed.
The controls of Nex Machina feel great and are super responsive. Moving around each level feels natural as waves and waves of enemies chase after you. You have a number of extra weapons and abilities you can find while destroying enemies, all of which compliment your basic weapon you use constantly while roaming around. Most of the extra weapons range from bombs to laser, including a sword, that are powerful enough to damage large groups of enemies. This is especially helpful when the screen starts to get crowded with angry hordes that come after you with ruthless aggression.
The best part of Nex Machina is how everything flows at such a fast pace, yet still feels comprehensible and controllable. While you can get overwhelmed by groups of enemies that chase after you, there’s always an option available to you in almost every situation. By using your weapons and cleverly moving around the map, you can effectively control the hordes chasing after you and give yourself time to look for secrets and bonus items that can really help you later on in the level. The speed of everything happening on screen never lets up, but at no point do you ever feel like you can’t get a good grasp on what is happening around you.
In typical Housemarque fashion, high scores and challenge is the focal point of everything. An arcade mode, leaderboards, and bonus challenges help keep the simple yet chaotic action constantly feeling fresh. You can run through all of the levels consecutively in arcade mode, which unlocks each map for other modes, or you can take on a number of bonus challenges that unlock as you play.
All of this is complimented by the number of in-game feats you can obtain to show various accolades you’ve obtained. You’re going to be playing for a long time if you want to obtain some of those harder feats, because they definitely make you work for them.
Nex Machina also has local cooperative multiplayer. This is fun if you have a friend with you to shoot up enemies together, which can make running through the levels a bit easier. It is disappointing however that the multiplayer can’t be done online. It would have been ideal to play cooperatively with others over the internet, especially since the game works so well when played together with a friend.
This is even more obvious because of the customization options you can unlock when you play through different modes, such as extra colors and other customization items. This would’ve worked well online since you’d be able to share your custom character with others as you play cooperative multiplayer.
If you value gameplay above everything else in your gaming experience, then Nex Machina is right up your alley. The fast action and solid controls work very well and will keep you on your toes with its challenging levels and game modes. It’s a bummer not to have the cooperative multiplayer online, but the local multiplayer still works well for those who want to run through the arcade mode together with a friend. If you’re up to the challenge and want something you can easily jump into, then Housemarque has another great game for you.
This review was based on a digital review code for Nex Machina on the PlayStation 4, provided by Housemarque.