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Review: Daemon X Machina (Switch)

7

Good

I’ve never really been a motor vehicle enthusiast. While I can appreciate the engineering and design that goes into these marvels of machinery, I’ve just never really been too enamoured with them. There is one thing that they have going for them though, they’re the closest I can currently get to something I do get excited about, mechs. 

There’s just something about these fictional machines that has always been appealing, even if they are mostly instruments of war. I guess it just comes down to how vastly different they can be. From hulking behemoths whose movements make the earth tremble to swift ‘skaters’ that can quickly manoeuvre around and through obstacles. There’s a lot of expression that can go into a mech and that might be where their appeal lies. Now while this may seem to be nothing more than a silly ramble, it’s where a lot of the appeal of Daemon X Machina comes from. You might be able to boil it down to a simple third-person shooter, but at its core, there’s a lot one can do to express oneself.

Developments X Machina

In the world of Daemon X Machina, you play as a rookie Outer, a pilot, who controls an Arsenal, the universe’s name for a mech, on missions for the various member groups of the Consortium. Now while this is very much standard sci-fi mecha lingo, it does provide a simple enough starting point for players to get to understand the world and its inhabitants. The player will take on missions for the Consortium with other mercenaries to fight back against the plague of corrupted AIs that threaten humanity. 

It’s just unfortunate that the story may put off people quite early on before they get into the interesting parts of the game.

Now the premise here is pretty straightforward and unfortunately, the game takes a little too long before it decides to become a little interesting. Most of your starter mission feel like you’re just there interacting with other quirky mercenaries and their groups before the game decides to do something with its plot. While the mercenary groups are interesting and their interactions are fun to watch, they do often come off as very tropey and only once the plot gets going do they become a little more interesting. It’s a mostly serviceable way to progress the game, but I did find myself being put off very early. Daemon X Machina may have benefitted from the story setting up its stakes a little earlier than just relying on the standard man versus machine story for its opening hours.

This doesn’t mean that there is little substance to Daemon X Machina though, as what it may lack in story element it more than makes up for in its other gameplay aspects. It’s just unfortunate that the story may put off people quite early on before they get into the interesting parts of the game.

Daemon X Fashionista

What the game may lack in story, it makes up for in other areas. At its core, it’s a third-person shooter that sees players taking on missions with other mercenaries. These missions have the usual objectives, defend this area or defeat these enemies, but they usually result in dog fights with a variety of enemies and Arsenals. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some fun to have here, in fact, the bosses in this game usually have some interesting mechanics attached to them that test your piloting ability. While the missions might get a little samey at times, it does allow one of the best aspects of the game to shine. The customisation gets to be put front and centre.

With the missions having pretty short and simple gameplay loops, it allows you to explore the games customisation options thoroughly. Daemon X Machina gives you many different options to customise your pilot and mech. This is from simple things such as colours and hair options to various armour options and weapons. All of these have a drastic effect on the mech you pilot, with certain armour options allowing for slower, tanky options that are better suited for large cannons while others help you speed around the battlefield with laser swords. There are options for everyone and with the shorter missions, it allows for you to experiment quite a bit, finding the perfect setup for some of the more unique encounters. It’s quite easy to lose yourself in the customisation options and developing your mech for your tastes and the mission-based gameplay means you have more opportunities to switch out setups in-between missions. With all this Daemon X Machina works out to be a fun title to take around on the Switch and manages to still keep itself engaging.

Design X Environments

Ultimately there is a lot to enjoy, however, some of the design aspects of the game are in conflicts with this. While this doesn’t completely ruin the experience, it will leave you wondering what could have been done better. 

Daemon X Machina has a delightful art style that manages to bring out the intricacies of the mechs as well as detail their movements and actions, however, it doesn’t benefit everything in the game. The environments tend to blend into themselves and while you can see they are meant to have different visual themes of snow and deserts, these tend to just feel like flat colours and blur into themselves in action. The problem is that while you’re standing still everything tends to look alright but this is lost when things start to get a little too frantic. This coupled with performance issues when things start to get busy means that it is quite easy to get torn out of the action.

It’s just a pity that this is the case as with the level of customisation and catchy tunes that are thrown out, all you want to do is get caught up in the action. The soundtrack may come across as a little generic but it captures the emotions of the game pretty well and gives the action that mech anime energy. There are moments where it shines, and that’s all that the game needs.

So where does this leave Daemon X Machina? The game does a lot right and is a pleasure to play. The problem comes in that its issues, unfortunately, land up pulling the player out of their enjoyment far too often. It offers up some enjoyable moments to players as well as some engaging content to keep players coming back. It’s a fun mech game for the Switch but its issues keep it from being great. It’s fun as a quick pickup, but its mileage may vary.

Good

  • Extensive customisation
  • Soundtrack that just makes you want to pilot a mech
  • Interesting characters along the way

Bad

  • Performance issues
  • Visuals tend to blend together

Summary

Daemon X Machina has a lot of promise but unfortunately falls short with a few annoying issues. With some fun gameplay and extensive customisation, there is a lot going for this game as an on the go title. Problems come in with a few lacklustre design choices and performance issues, however, if you're able to overlook these you will be in for a good time.
7

Good

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