Override Mech City Brawl is a 3D brawling game developed by The balance Inc. It is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, and Humble Bundle. This game was reviewed on the standard Xbox One console by Joseph Pugh.
Override is game about taking mechs that stand taller than a skyscraper and brawling it out in a variety of destructible locales. Did you ever get the toy called Rock em Sock robots as a kid? This title is a culmination of your childhood imagination when you were playing with that toy. It wears its inspirations on its sleeve, but that’s not really a bad thing.
You control one of twelve mechs and fight in an arcade story mode, versus mode, against the AI, friends in local multiplayer or in an online multiplayer mode. The concept is the same in all modes, however. Beat the oil and bolts out of the other side.
The controls are simple, you won’t need to memorize combos or intense button sequences to play. Each limb of your mech is controlled by a different button. With one button you swing your right arm, with another you kick your left leg. You can hold any of the attack buttons to charge up a more powerful attack.
You can block enemy attacks, charged up strikes break a block, but by timing your own strike while blocking, you can counter an attack that is charging up. You have a dash button and every mech has four special attacks. One linked to each limb. They are simple to use, you just hold the special button (X on the Xbox One controller) and hit one of the attack buttons. You use a special meter that charges up as you fight for these attacks. Then finally, when you’re low on health you can unleash a finishing move. Each mech has one and they play a small cinematic when they trigger.
The controls are simple to learn, but actually controlling the mech is somewhat clunky. I think that this is mostly intentional. Something that Override does very well is making each of the towering mechs feel heavy. The screen shakes when they move and many of their attacks are slow and robotic. You feel the impact of a charged up attack, and sending an enemy mech flying through the air and crashing into multiple buildings on the way is really satisfying. Part of that experience is the mechs being sluggish in their movements and invoking a clunky feeling.
The visuals help the overall atmosphere. Everything is adequately detailed and even though the buildings break apart as easily as a gorilla smashing a fortune cookie, they look nice doing it. Random weapons also fall from the sky periodically and can be picked up by you and your opponents. These range from swords and shields to gatling guns and grenades. All the properly absurd size to be wielded by the mechs.
Interestingly, some of them can be dual wielded, since you choose the hand that picks each one up. The weapon drops have a Super Smash Bros feel for them. They add a lot of potential chaos and variation to the matches. You have twelve mechs to choose from, and they are visually diverse. You have mechs that look like they are straight out of Gundam, a big robotic dinosaur, a giant pixie and more. Each mech has a ton of skins and accessories you can unlock just by playing. Something not exactly common in gaming today.
That diversity doesn’t carry over into gameplay as much as I would like. The basic attacks and blocking are mostly the same for each mech. They have each have four special attacks, a finisher, and a unique left kick. I should note, that each one’s dash is visually different also. But most of the basics and blocking are the same between mechs.
At its core, the gameplay works well. It;s a type of fighting game that people who don’t play fighting games can pick up and play. (Like me!) The combat, weapon drops, special moves and destructible environments make each fight satisfying.
The arcade mode pits you against a series of missions versus giant creatures known as Xenotypes. You do fight the occasional mech, but robot on robot violence takes somewhat of a back seat to the organic beasties. The Xenotypes you fight look damn cool, and there is a decent variety of them, they look to be inspired by the Kaiju in Pacific Rim and I really enjoyed their visual designs. Fighting them is less satisfying, however.
The game excels in long drawn out combats, two titans going toe to toe and wrecking everything around them. The Xenotypes, however, are thrown at you as a horde and go down in a couple of hits each. As I stated before, the mechs are kind of clunky, you aren’t throwing down combo attacks and the game doesn’t feel like it was made for you to cut through swaths of fodder.
Battling the hordes doesn’t feel very good and often times it just looks awkward on screen. It feels like it’s seriously clashing with the rest of the game’s theme. Its broken up by the occasional boss fight and mech battle. Yet much of the in-between feels like its filler. This is a shame because the arcade mode has some neat design choices otherwise.
Inbetween the story, you choose which missions to take on, each one lists the difficulty and reward. These can grant you new mods, research points, and weapon packs. I liked this kind of set up for a brawler. You spend the research points to upgrade your armor, damage and other statistics of your mech. You obtain mods that can be slotted into your mech which can change certain aspects, such as giving you more thrust.
Weapons can be equipped to influence what which ones randomly drop during a battle, and one you can call in yourself anytime. It gives a more personified approach to simply fighting stage after stage. Sadly you fight Xenotypes throughout most of the mode and that experience feels dull. If you beat arcade, you can play through again on hard and I appreciated the option.
The story is simple, nonserious and a bit cheesy at times. It exists as an excuse to fight things in a giant mech, and that’s perfectly okay. There is a slight variation in lines depending on which mech your playing as though.
Where the game really shines, is multiplayer, whether online or local. Fighting your friends is fun and thrilling. The game supports local split-screen and the game is perfect for a party style game experience. Matches can be fought one on one, two on two and in four-person free for all.
One unique feature is the ability to have multiple players control the same mech at once. The game splits up control between the players and they have to work together to fight. For example, if two people are controlling one mech. One player works the arms and the other the legs. You can do this in normal matches or the arcade mode.
In practice, this again makes for an interesting party experience full of laughter and joking on each other. But on the flip side, the controls aren’t exactly full of depth to begin with, splitting it up diminishes it even further.
You also have the option of fighting normal matches offline against the AI. While you can tune the computer’s difficulty, I found it pretty easy to beat. Their attacks are very easy to avoid and to my dismay, my computer-controlled opponents never once picked up a weapon to use. This leads me to believe they aren’t programmed to do it at all. I am not good at these type of games, so it’s hard to imagine anyone finding the AI to be a satisfying opponent.
Overall I did enjoy Override, but I think it has a place it excels and it falls a little short outside that place. The game looks good, the combat is fun and the mechs feel like they have weight to them.
Fighting the Xenotypes in arcade mode is not that exciting and it’s disappointing that the AI in normal versus matches is gimped and doesn’t properly utilize the game’s mechanics. Framerate was stable, but I did run to a weird stutter that occurred once or twice a fight.
It’s a great game to kick back, order some food and drinks and play with friends. Whether online or in the same room. Human opponents are by far the most fun to fight.
A key for Override: Mech City Brawl was provided for Gideon’s Gaming by Modus games via terminals.io.
- Nice visuals and good mech and xenotype designs
- Mechs feel heavy and the environments are destructible playgrounds.
- Fun brawling combat, flashy special attacks and weapon drops.
- Local multiplayer
- A unique multiplayer mode where multiple players control different parts fo a mech.
- Xenotypes are not fun to fight
- Poor AI for offline battles
- Lack of variety in basic attacks between mechs
- Some brief stuttering