The enemies in Horberg Productions’ new side-scrolling indie game, Mechstermination Force, have something in common with my one-year-old… they’re real bossy! They stomp around when they’re angry and wreak havoc, but they also have weak points that when targeted bring the situation under control; hugs and book time for my little one, platforming and shooting for those pesky metal heads. I can even put them both down when things get nuts, be it some much needed nap time in the crib, or similarly, putting the Nintendo Switch to sleep. Oh, and there’s one more thing… I’m fond of both!
In case you didn’t make the connection between a rampaging toddler and a video game, Mechstermination Force is all about bosses. In fact, the game is a series of boss fights, with each new mechanical monstrosity more complicated than the last. Your job is to take them down by uncovering and then exploiting their weak points with a handful of weapons in your arsenal, unlocked over time with in-game currency. It’s like Contra having a baby with Shadow of the Colossus!
All of these boss fights, like the thousands of confrontations throughout video game history, start off as head scratchers until you uncover the “ah-hah” moment where you figure out how to bring them down. And even if you die, you can restart with barely any load time, or quickly exit back to your home base where you can do a handful of things, from speaking to NPCs to purchasing weapons, and the best option, replaying bosses you defeated in order to make a quick buck; bosses drop coins during the fight, so win or lose, you’ll walk away with something.
In addition to playing solo, you can team up with a friend or family member for some local co-op; online play is sorely absent. Tackling the bosses with someone else allows you to take advantage of double the firepower, concentrating your attention on one weak point or removing a boss’ shielding much faster than going solo; additionally, there’s plenty of comradery to be had in these shared victories.
It’s a fun experience overall, so what bugs me? Well, the hero looks tiny compared to the bosses with the Switch in portable mode, and it’s sometimes easy to lose the character amongst the explosions and other effects. There’s also the grinding aspect to the game, where if you want to obtain lots of money, you’ll need to go back and replay the same bosses several times. Had the game come with more things to unlock (more items, weapons, concept art… anything) the grind would’ve come with great incentive.
This is, admittedly, some nitpicking on what is otherwise a fun game that’s worth the $11.99 asking price, which comes without the additional expense of baby diapers, food, and toys. With that in mind, blasting gigantic bosses to bits makes Mechstermination Force a cool pickup for the Switch, and I can already see that it has a solid groundwork in place for a more feature-packed sequel. But for now, let’s enjoy this game while it’s young.
Final Score: 8 (out of 10)