If there’s one thing this generation of games has been lacking, it’s a good old-fashioned battle arena game. Perhaps it could be because games like League of Legends and Dota 2 are so wildly popular, which focus on teamplay rather than on individual combat. Still, they’re no replacement for the fun of running around in a wide 3D arena and getting up close to your opponent to beat the snot out of them. The only example recent arena brawler that comes to mind 2014’s Godzilla, but that game was met with less than unfavorable reviews. So, Override: Mech City Brawl has a lot of expectations to satisfy if it wants to help revive a seemingly dying genre in gaming.
Override: Mech City Brawl brings the excitement of giant robot battles to Nintendo‘s platform, letting players control gigantic skyscraper-sized mechs and duke it out in a wide variety of landscapes on the Switch. But does this game scratch that arena brawler itch? The short answer is yes, but not without running into its own set of issues.
Giant Robots For All!
While Override: Mech City Brawl might not go as deep as other mech games when it comes to customizing your loadout, it more than makes up for it with its wide collection of characters. With 16 selectable mechs, each one provides a unique range of options that players can enjoy playing with. These can range from a grappler fish that can unleash devastating damage, a Unicorn mech that can use rainbows and its horn to tear opponents apart, and a gladiator that uses its sword and to cut opponents down to size. It’s also worth noting that while some of these mechs were added as DLC when the game first launched on other platforms, they are all available from the start on the Switch.
Another fun feature the robots have is the ability to change up the skins they use. If you are familiar with other live service games, you know that skins can range from simple recolors to complete redesigns of their character. The skins in this game might not be much to look at for some, but it is nice that the option is there to not only change up your attire, but to also add a random accessory to your mech, like a horse head or a Tutu. Best of all, the way you earn rewards is by simply playing. With each match, you earn a skin or accessory at random with any duplicates becoming currency to buy what you want. So if you play for a few hours, you’ll likely either get a nice skin for yourself or earn enough currency to purchase a legendary skin.
Robots vs Aliens — Not as Exciting as It Sounds…
The Story Mode for Override: Mech City Brawl is… lacking. As engaging as a Story Mode might sound in a game where you fight a whole bunch of mechs, you’ll be spending most of your time mindlessly fighting off giant aliens invading the world. You’d think that would sound like a fun game mode, but it gets repetitive with little variety outside of it. It’s nice to meet the characters who are piloting the mechs, but upon multiple playthroughs, you start to notice how the dialogue kind of blends together regardless of whatever mech you use. Meanwhile, the aliens themselves go down pretty easy after a few hits. There are boss fights too, but you can be halfway past reckless and still have few issues finishing the fight.
During the arcade playthrough, you can pick from a variety of “missions” but they all amount to the same thing: find aliens, beat aliens, then strike a pose at the end. You might get the chance to fight an actual mech, but that won’t happen until you’re about halfway through the mode. You can pick from a set of maps to fight on and the game difficulty, which can change the level of reward you can earn such as random mods, weapon loadouts, or research points. Now that sounds all fine and good, but when you earn random mods throughout the story anyway and the weapons feel pointless since your fists, kicks, and abilities can get the job done, you will likely look into the research points in order to boost your stats and make fights even easier.
It would have been nice if we got a simple arcade mode, but the mode we got was fine. It just left a lot to be desired.
Simple Gameplay, Deeper than You Might Expect
Unlike most games, the primary means of combat are with the shoulder buttons. Each shoulder button can move both arms and the legs and you can hold down the buttons to dish out more powerful attacks. While it might sound pretty barebones, the combat is surprisingly deep. You can hold up a guard to block attacks, but you can also push attackers away with a counter-attack. All characters can jump, dash, and hover, as well as perform dive kicks and other moves that can be able to break shields. And if you have friends, you can all team up to pilot the same mech as each player can take up positions to pilot different parts.
If you find yourself low on health, you can initiate your ultimate attack to deliver a powerful attack and turn things around. While they’re all certainly are strong, it’s clear that some finishers are much more effective than others. Still, if you find a match being fairly even to the end, it can still make all the difference between victory and defeat.
While the aliens might not be fun to fight, the actual mech fights can be rather exciting. It can be fun to go stomping around cities and knocking down buildings while fighting your opponent, and with a wide range of stages, it’s nice to not feel limited to one location. There is, however, a slight issue with the frame rate. It’s hard to say if this was this issue an issue on other platforms, but the performance during fights can fall behind at times. It doesn’t ruin the game completely, but it’s quite noticeable.
Is Override: Mech City Brawl For You?
It can be fairly easy to overlook Override: Mech City Brawl as just another random title, but if you put the time in, you’ll certainly find a fun brawler here. However, if you are are going to play this solo, you might burn yourself out as there isn’t really that much the game will offer. Even the story mode will only entertain you for so long before the repetitiveness sets in. Perhaps that can be said of any fighter/brawler game out there, but it is especially obvious here.
But if you have friends, you will certainly get a lot of mileage out of this game.
You can mix and match how you and everyone else fights with the game’s vast array of options, including being able to set up team fights and have everyone learn how to work together to beat the opponents. Hopefully, if there is a sequel, we could see an even wider range of options such as a simple arcade mode where you fight all the mechs in a ladder alongside a story mode. More mechs, better performance, and a small tune-up and it can certainly be a breakout title. For now, though, Override: Mech City Brawl is a great game that might be a little too rough around the edges for many.
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Note: The following screenshots were from the PC/Xbox One/PlayStation 4 versions of Override: Mech City Brawl .
- THE GOOD
- A nice range of characters to use.
- Wide variety of cosmetics to earn and collect.
- Gameplay can be surprisingly engaging.
- Story Mode offers a wide range of options.
- THE BAD
- Story Mode fights can also feel really underwhelming.
- Frame rate can be bothersome at times.
Override: Mech City Brawl is a game that is definitely rough around the edges when it comes to its presentation. But if you are looking for a fun arena brawler with a surprising amount of depth in it, this game will certainly be a treat.
How’s it going everyone, I’m Mike Sol and I am one of many contributing writers to Culture of Gaming. You can usually find me playing some of the latest games to come out, although I tend to avoid anything related to sports or strategy. I enjoy the big three and all the games on them but my main console is the Xbox One. I don’t have a specific preference in gaming, but any game that has fun action and beating up waves of enemies is usually my cup tea. If you ever want me to game with me or want me to write about something of interest, feel free to hit me up. I hope to have a personal blog set up soon, but my loyalties shall remain with CoG.