Go Mecha Ball Review

One of my favourite parts of operating the Tavern here is getting to experience games that might otherwise have passed me by. I’ve been fortunate enough to check out a lot of titles over the years that have surprised me, and today I can add Go Mecha Ball to that list. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, and had I let the Rogue-like elements put me off playing I would certainly have been a fool for not trying it.

The most immediate aspect of Go Mecha Ball is the sheer speed of the action. My first night playing I was immensely tired after a long day, and figured I’d have a quick go before bed; 2 hours later my eyes are wide open and I’m struggling to put the controller down. It’s fast, immediate, and a lot of fun.

We control our Mecha – here presented as a Cat in a Suit – with the left stick, whereby they run fairly tamely about. Holding the left trigger sees them curl up into a ball, causing the speed to pick up drastically in a way even Sonic could be proud of. Levels are generally quite compact but filled with ramps, jumps, tubes, bounce pads, and more, and it only takes a matter of minutes to find ourselves zipping from one side to the other while fending off all sorts of attacks.

Played from an isometric perspective, we control our attacks in a twin stick shooter fashion. Each of the characters have set starting weapons, from shotguns to machine guns, laser rifles and more, and by defeating enemies we have a random chance of them dropping new guns for us to use. We can carry two at once, and any left on the floor are lost when we move onto a new stage.

It’s not a simple case of just blasting though as ammo is limited. To get more, we have to dash charge enemies, though this requires rolling into the ball and therefore losing the ability to use our guns for a moment. In practice, this is very well implemented, and forces us to keep mixing up our playstyle and attacks even under pressure from bigger enemies or bosses.

After each stage’s three waves, we move into a transport section at which time we get presented with three random upgrades or abilities and can choose one to take with us. There are a lot to unlock, and depending on what we get offered some seriously powerful combos can be had; our favourite so far was a mix of the Shockwave and Disc abilities, making light work of all but the biggest of foes. Upgrades are passive and we can have many of these active at once, where as abilities we can only hold two, so like the weaponry we need to make some tough choices on what to keep to better serve us in our game.

A quick stop at the in-game shop comes after three stages cleared where we again get three random items offered for purchase using coins dropped by defeated enemies, or we can bank some to go towards unlocking the three extra characters. Then it’s off to a boss battle, and these are some finely crafted fights indeed. The pace never slows, but as well as being literally massive they are capable of dealing massive damage and throwing all sorts of tricks our way. Each one is tremendously fun, and even though they killed me – a lot – it rarely felt overly unfair. The only sticking point in this regard was the Level 2 boss, who’s attacks seemed a little too overly powered and able to trap us in a damage loop, but with the right abilities this was less of an issue.

I’ve made mention of randomness a lot so far, and this is where the Roguelike elements come in. There are five levels in all, and when we die, we must start from scratch. We do get an extra currency as we progress that can be used to unlock further upgrades, abilities, and weapons that will then have a chance to appear in our run, but that’s it. Each character has various stats, such as better health or speed, but by default we can’t affect these. Depending on the run, it could take roughly 45 mins to an hour to clear the game, but fail at the final hurdle and it’s back to the beginning with you.

Usually this puts me off sticking with a game; I’ve only so much time, and I’m not a fan of starting over repeatedly. But Go Mecha Ball has got that special something about it because I’m yet to find myself dreading another run beginning. If anything, I’ve had to pull myself away to go to sleep rather than keeping playing until the early hours.

Conclusion

The combination of gunplay, fast movement, upgrades, weapons, and some frankly kick ass dynamic music that reacts to our gameplay has won me over these past few nights. The classic ‘easy to play, hard to master’ mantra is very true of Go Mecha Ball, but importantly it’s never less than a blast to play.

This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Fast and fluid gameplay
  • Plenty of powers and upgrades to unlock
  • Has a core hook that make even repeatedly playing extremely fun
Bad
  • One or two enemy attacks can feel a bit cheap
8.8
Great
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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