Nex Machina: Death Machine Hands-on Preview

Housemarque, I love you. I must be completely honest about that. Super Stardust, Resogun, Alienation….they are all excellent arcade shooters that are colorful and full of entertainment. They also compel me to reach my gaming potential by speaking to my competitive spirit. And now, based on my experience with the demo at PAX East, we can add Nex Machina to that list.

First, let’s go back to PAX Prime (West) 2013 when Resogun was being demoed for the then upcoming PlayStation 4 console. I found myself addicted to it like I do with any shooter. It got to the point where I absolutely had to obtain the top score at the event. And I did just that.

PAX Prime 2013 – Resogun Top Score

Now, let’s fast forward to last weekend at PAX East 2017. Nex Machina was being demoed and once again I found myself addicted to a Housemarque game where I had to get the top score at the event. And, once again, I did just that!

However, I went back a few hours later to find that someone surpassed my score. Having loved the demo for Nex Machina and enjoying the thrill of obtaining the previous top score, I had to once again fight for the top spot. I had a pretty busy schedule that day, so thankfully, it only took one try to reclaim first place.

My point in sharing this (apart from being a bit of a braggart…I apologize) is that once again Housemarque has an addictive shooter on the horizon with Nex Machina: Death Machine. I love the twin-stick style and the many particles that explode onto the screen with every robot that players wipe out. It’s colorful, challenging, and has the type of scoring system that makes sense. I’m ready to see more levels!

While going through the demo I encountered unique enemies that have planned spawning zones. Some of the bots take a lot to damage to kill while others are quick to kill. As you can expect though, the weaker enemies rush at the player in great numbers and patterns that make it more difficult to manage. But it’s still OH SO fun. There are power-ups players can collect, including one for the guns to give the player a wider triple shot compared to the single shot that players begin with. There’s also a shield that can save the day for those attempting to get high scores. Obviously, if players die they’ll lose their multiplier and power-ups.

One of the unique pick-ups I came across was a sword that I could use to kill enemies. It’s a bit scary to use when you’re going for a high score as players need to be in close vicinity to the bots for the sword to kill them. I’m not sure if using the sword has any effect on the score or multiplier, or if perhaps they always do a one-hit kill on the hard-shell enemies. This is something I’ll need to look into another time.

One of the more interesting mechanics in the game is the ability to quickly teleport/shift away from enemies, or beyond electrical currents, that otherwise kill the player. While many players can play slowly and take their time getting past these sections that are blocked by electrical power, it appears to be important to teleport through each section as quickly as possible to get a higher score – thus increasing the challenge even further.

I also want to note that the first boss is pretty basic for the most part, but still certainly plays well. Seasoned shooter fans will have no issue getting past the first boss while others might make it more difficult on themselves than what’s needed.

At the end of the day, Nex Machina: Death Machine is a game I’m extremely excited about and want more of right now! I can’t wait to see additional levels, learn more about the mechanics and score more points once it releases later this year on PlayStation 4.


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