When this game was first shown at E3, I found it intriguing for its beautiful art style. I have never played a mech game before (other than Titanfall 2 I guess), but I think this game will be a good jumping in point for a pure mech game. During the same Nintendo Direct where Tetris 99 was announced and released, the developers of Daemon released some prototype missions to try out. So tried them out I did, and here I am to talk about them.
Set in a dystopian world where robots have turned against humans after a moon crashed onto Earth, you play as a pilot who commands a mech, and with a group of others fight against the robots for humanity’s sake.
Like I said earlier, I have never played a mech game before, so I had no expectations going in. One thing that did stay the same for me, however, is how great that art style looks. Fighting enemies while in a vibrant mech suit with a blood red sky overhead looked incredible, and I think it is still the thing that highlights this game. Unfortunately, other than a few minor things, I didn’t find my experience with this game to be incredibly positive.
The four missions that are available offer four different mission variants. The first mission is a tutorial, the second mission is an assault, the third is a defense, and the fourth is a boss fight. Except for the boss fight and tutorial, each mission has you defeating cannon fodder enemies and a few mech enemies, with a special enemy at the end to finish off the mission. The tutorial is just about teaching the ropes, so nothing special there, and the boss fight is, well, a boss fight like any other. At the end of each battle, you head back to the hangar where you can upgrade your mech with new parts, upgrade yourself with skills, and head out on another mission (more will likely be available in the hub when the game releases).
Despite the mission variety and the gameplay loop that could prove to be fun in a Monster Hunter sort of way, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this game is dull. Watching gameplay before the prototype missions looked really fun and exciting, but in practice I found it to be quite the opposite. The main missions felt like me flying around looking for robots to fight, actually finding robots and fighting them only to find out they have the health of a glass tennis ball and the attack strength of yelling ‘pew’ at the Jolly Green Giant if he wasn’t so jolly, also finding out that you only really need to aim at them because your mech auto attacks enemies if they are locked on, then moving on to fight other enemies. Fighting other mechs was fun because they offered a challenge, and being able to loot parts off of them that can be used on your mech is cool, but they are few and far between and pretty boring as well. At its most hectic moments, I was just pressing the dodge button sometimes and attacking mechs in the most boring way possible, and mix that with a not-so-great framerate and music that is trying too hard to sell a crazy action moment, and it leaves me bored out of my mind. I am fine with a repetitive loop, but the one here isn’t all that fun to me.
When I hit the boss fight, I started to have other issues as well. Even though I died a few times to the boss and I would classify it as ‘challenging,’ I still never found that fast-paced action fun. I was even doing cool stuff like sliding underneath it to hit its weak points and dodging its charge up beam, but those moments never felt intense. All it felt like to me was “he’s charging up his shot, better start moving right” and “better move underneath this boss and stand there while I unload everything I have into its weak side. Getting low on health was never exciting because all I had to do was go off to the side and shoot a container for health, but it was dying that really sucked. If your mech died, you got the ability to exit your mech and run on foot. While this idea is cool and can be fine on normal levels, I never died on normal levels because of how easy they were, and being on foot fighting a boss is less than worthless. It would be nice if you had the ability to repair your mech on foot, because other than that there is no point in being on foot.
In conclusion, I think Daemon X Machina is an okay game. I don’t know if it’s just this game, or mech games as a whole, but I found my time with this game to be rather boring. There is a good gameplay loop that can be found here, but the gameplay itself feels like nothing more than aiming and shooting. At the end of the day, I am less excited for this title, but I will still keep tabs on it.