Override: Mech City Brawl Review – Kill All Non-Kaiju’s
Override: Mech City BrawlDecember 4th, 2018
Back in 2013, Pacific Rim was released and I loved it. During the same year, a Pacific Rim game was released and, frankly, it was terrible. Why do I mention this? I get the impression that Override: Mech City Brawl is the sort of game that Guillermo Del Toro would have approved of when it comes to Pacific Rim. It's cheesy, fun and a genuinely good spectacle.
The one thing you really need to know is that the game is about huge hulking mechs fighting other huge hulking mechs. Or huge hulking mechs fighting huge alien invaders (thus the Pacific Rim reference), called Xenotypes, and protecting our world from those who would destroy it.
If I were to have any criticism for Override: Mech City Brawl is that, in single player, it has a fairly limited replay value. The arcade - or story mode - is sadly fairly limited in its scope. For the short ride it is, it's pretty entertaining. I can't honestly remember how many actual battles I took place in because the story only takes place across a handful of stages. It's a shame because the replay value is limited unless you feel the need to fight the same select bosses using the other mechs.
This isn't to say that you only actually fight in a few levels. You'll probably find yourself fighting in around thirty - maybe - stages. These other ones are inconsequential to the story, only really used to pad out the single player campaign while also giving you research points and letting you unlock weapons and mods, of which four of each can be equipped and used in later fights. First, on the research points, these can be used to increase the stats of your mech as well as be used to research new perks and weapon packs.
The weapons, when equipped, randomly drop on on the map throughout the battle and range from melee, ranged or even throwable weapons. Some of these throwable weapons can be pretty interesting too, including such as a giant bear trap which can lock an opponent in place for a moment. The mods are equally varied, with one offering something as simple as regenerating health be a percentage of damage you deal, to others which will boost attack and defence at the expense of dealing constant health damage to your mech.
Also, in addition to these game-influencing mods and weapons, you also unlock skins and accessories. These allow you to differentiate your mech from oppositions of the same type. It's a nice little feature, even if only cosmetic in nature. It's another way of differentiating the mechs, which vary both visually and physically in size, speed and the abilities at their disposal. The Xenotypes in the single player are also well detailed and gruesome by design.
As a way of introducing you to the game, letting you get used to a specific Mech, it's certainly useful. Honestly, the real joy of Override: Mech City Brawl comes from something that is normally anathema to me: multiplayer. Whether it's fighting 1v1 against another player or in teams of 2v2, maybe even 3v1 or 2v1, it's actually the base of what's on offer. Even as the base, it's incredibly entertaining thanks to flashy moves from huge mechs destroying a city as they battle to the death.
Other features from the multiplayer are what can truly make the game compelling. In co-op, either in the story mode or even in battles against the AI or other humans, you can actually team up with a maximum of three other players. Remember Pacific Rim where the pilots had to work in a pair, with each pilot controlling a different part of the mech? It's that.
If you have two pilots, one will control the legs while the other controls the arms. If you happen to have four pilots - something I haven't managed in offline co-op because I only ever gather three people or more together for ritualistic sacrifices - each person will control a single arm or leg each. It should be noted that this isn't for the movement of the mech, this is controlled by the primary player, this is only for attacking. I shudder to imagine what it would be like if a group of people actually attempted to organise the movement of the mech.
What it turns out to be is insanity, but of the frantic and fun variety. Even with just two people, it requires superhuman co-ordination to not start to interfere with each other's attacks and the attempted use of abilities. It's surprising how much fun you can have just from the frantic talking between each other as you're losing a fight against even AI opponents set to a more difficult setting.
Aesthetically, Override: Mech City Brawl isn't going to blow the world away. Nothing in the game is incredibly well defined, though it isn't bad to look at in any way. The buildings and areas you fight in are detailed enough and amusingly interactive as they break apart into blocks, like the Lego city of a toddler pretending to be Godzilla on a rampage. It's simply cathartic to see giant mechs and Xenotypes crushing humanity with their colossal size and strength, especially in a bright and colourful game.
As for the fights themselves, the abilities themselves are well animated. From a suplex delivered by one mech, effectively a wrestler, to a flash kick from a mech with the fluidity and fighting style of Eddie Gordo. Each of the twelve mechs has a wide range of normal and special attacks, all well designed, as well as ultimate moves with their own little cutscenes. The effects, from explosions, flames and the slashes from blades, and more, are all good to see.
The only real downside is found within the camera. All too often you can find your view obscured by the taller buildings. This is the main reason, at the start of any fight, I intentionally walk around to destroy all the largest buildings before the aliens arrive. Against a human, at least I know they're having the same issue. Another problem is if you get locked into a corner, where the camera will outright ignore any of your requests.
If somebody asked me to name them a good party game, I'd tell them to leave me alone. If asked again, I'd begrudgingly answer that Override is good, while throwing a copy of it at their face. For £24.99/$29.99, it's far from the cheapest indie game around, but it's also not priced as a premium title. Is it good value for money? Naturally, that depends on the life you get out of it.
All things considered, I can genuinely recommend Override: Mech City Brawl. It's a fun game, although it has some issues. The single player is limited, with the only real variety coming from the dialogue based on the mech & character you choose. Multiplayer is where the real joy comes, even in a one vs one setting, but particularly so when grouping up with or against other people.
PC version reviewed. Copy provided by the publisher. You may purchase the game via Green Man Gaming for PC.
Override: Mech City Brawl features a fun and engaging combat, featuring giant mechs facing against each other, or against giant aliens. It's slightly marred by an unwieldy camera which loves to obscure your view of the fight and limited single-player options. However, this is made up by it being one of the better party or online games out there, when you have the people online, particularly as you can group up with up to three other players to control the same or different mechs.
- Excellent multiplayer, particularly co-op either against the AI or other people with up to four people controlling one mech
- Easy to learn and highly accessible combat system
- A well-balanced range of mechs/characters to ensure a fair match based on understanding strengths and weaknesses
- Decent aesthetic design that suits the game perfectly
- Limited replay value for a solo player who won't go online a great deal
- Single player story has a lot of padding
- Online mode can, at times, feel a little empty
- Camera control can be unwieldy at times