HARDCORE MECHA is an ode to the 2D platforming titles of yesteryear, but even with clean animations, gameplay mechanics, and a same-couch multiplayer experience, is it enough to justify giving it a whirl? Well, it’s time to find out.
+Beautifully stylized graphics and animations that leave us craving for more
+Easy to learn gameplay mechanics that allow players to slowly edge in on high-octane combat over time
+A low-entry learning curve that makes controls easy to learn and easy to use
+Enjoyable progression system that makes the entire package an absolute delight
+Same-couch multiplayer is an absolute blast
+Extremely well-designed soundtrack
-Online multiplayer progression is required in order to unlock more mechs for same-couch multiplayer
-Online multiplayer is all-but-dead on PlayStation 4 consoles
When it almost seems we’re beginning to enter into a drought of mecha-focused games, there seems to be someone just over the horizon to welcome one in, giving us gigantic robots to trek around in and blow things up while using. Some of these games, as of late, include DAEMON X MACHINA, MECHWARRIOR 5, and now, HARDCORE MECHA.
These games allow our imaginations to fly, seeing different types of mecha to enjoy, some designs being inspired by games such as Armored Core while others may find inspiration from titles such as Robot Wars, Mazinger Z or the Gundam universe. Our latest comes from indie studio RocketPunch Games with HARDCORE MECHA, which gives us model-kit worthy designs that just happen to come out swinging and letting imaginations fly.
However, it wasn’t always the case when it comes to HARDCORE MECHA, a game that relied heavily on the Steam community to make it exceed expectations, and now, PlayStation 4 users to help bring a larger user base into RocketPunch Games’ view. But now, you have to wonder, what exactly is HARDCORE MECHA?
HARDCORE MECHA is one from the China Heroes program, but what else is it? Something bigger.
When I first started HARDCORE MECHA, I’d done quite a bit of research before its PlayStation 4 release, having watched countless streamers that I enjoy actually give the game a whirl. I even dove into some of the Early Access reviews, talked to a few fans of the game, and begun to watch my interest peak in regards to giving the game a whirl.
HARDCORE MECHA takes several subtle notes from well-established anime titles, giving us a game where a group of mercenaries has been called upon in order to assist the United Nations. Among them comes the main protagonist Tarethur, a character whom you’ll come rather familiar with alongside is mecha called Thunderbolt.
As things begin to heat up between the UN and a group of terrorists, Tarethur and company are called upon in order to quell the attack, locking down each and every locale they are given the green light to assault or defend. With that being said, we can’t really talk much more about this story-focused title, one where everything you experience will play a critical role in the overall experience.
That being said, it is worth noting, that the story is a rather respectful Gundam or Full Metal Panic-lite experience. The gameplay itself takes noticeable queues from games such as Gunvolt and Mega Man, giving players quite a bit to enjoy in its frenetic pacing, one where the game can go from zero to eighty in two seconds flat, sending massive waves of mechs against Tarethur within a moments notice.
Replayability has a lot of value within the HARDCORE MECHA experience
As HARDCORE MECHA is a mostly-singleplayer title, you’ll find that clearing all eight chapters will take quite a while, giving you a run for your money and ensuring you’re locked in for achieving the highest score possible. This includes damage taken, enemies killed, items used and completion time. The faster and the better you complete the mission, the higher your rating, the higher the rating, the better off you are when said and done.
Now, you might be wondering: What else is there to do once you’ve achieved an S Rating in every mission? Well, quite a bit really thanks to the simulation mode, which can only be unlocked by completing the game itself. From here, you’ll get to enjoy all eight chapters (sixteen missions in total, which took us roughly eight hours to clear), you will get to do them all over again using various mecha suits and their arsenal’s in a re-imagined run.
Now, multiplayer does this a bit better, but unfortunately, in a very limited manner for those without an internet connection or the ability to connect to an online match.
HARDCORE MECHA suffers from a dead-as-a-doornail online multiplayer for PlayStation 4 users
Now, it is worth noting that with a HARDCORE MECHA community, you can get into online multiplayer, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for us. We struggled to even find one, often staying in the queue for 15-20 minutes at a time, but our luck had run out on that experience.
Now, with that said, we did take time to experience the local multiplayer, allowing Greg and I to pull in 1-4 people in total, allowing us to experience each of the various mecha suits that are unlocked from the very start. The problem here? We were locked to 4 mecha suits to use, leaving the rest of the game locked behind the online multiplayer portion of the game, causing us to find that experience we wanted to enjoy growing dull rather fast.
While it did grow dull within an hour or so, the multiplayer – even locally – is fun, frenetic, and it did give us quite a few laughs as we tested each of the heavy hitters that all came with their very own abilities. All that come to life thanks to the game’s insanely beautiful audiovisual designs.
HARDCORE MECHA is an absolutely astonishing spectacle
One of the things that we have to note is the audiovisual designs alongside performance, which to be quite honest, is absolutely amazing. The game itself is absolutely beautiful, drawing in a style of art normally seen in both Chinese and Japanese anime. The quality itself is insanely high and it continues to show that no matter the situation, the game itself never falters from this quality, staying as high-as-possible.
Regardless if its scenery or not, the detail remains as high as ever, showing that RocketPunch Games took a lot of time to deliver a well-designed experience and some visual eye-candy for fans to enjoy. While the visual aspect of the game is some of the best on the market, the game does take a few subtle notes as the game itself does have voice tracks in both Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
When all said and done, HARDCORE MECHA welcomes in fans both new and old to 2D platformers into the games embrace, allowing for both sets of players to step into the game with little to no struggles at all. Since it does set the pace for how a person gets into the high-octane action, some fans will feel right at home – others will need a bit of time adjusting to the flying and dashing about while hovering to deliver a few fatal blows to their foes.
Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: RocketPunch Games
Publisher: RocketPunch Games
Release Date: Available Now
Ringing in at just $19.99 on the PlayStation Store, it’s hard not to recommend HARDCORE MECHA. With countless hours of replayability in the singleplayer portion of the game, a chance for some local competitive play and an ability to try some multiplayer fun, you’ll find HARDCORE MECHA to be a dish best served warm and one to not let pass you by.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game for review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.