Tuesday, 08 January 2019 17:35

Override: Mech City Brawl Review

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Super Fighting Robots

Override, developed by The Balance Inc and produced by Modus Games, is a fighting game based around giant robots punching and kicking each other. You will fight in the streets of Brazil, the dunes of Egypt, the craters of the Moon, and everywhere in between. There are a handful of modes to play and a variety of mechs to pilot ranging from a Mecha-Godzilla look-alike to a mecha ninja cat. While there is a cursory effort at a story mode, the real meat is in the multiplayer, both online and local.

I’ll Form the Head

Override sees you control each of your mech’s limbs independently aside from walking and jumping. There’s also an option to delegate control of the mech’s body parts to other players, up to four per mech. While solo, there’s a button to attack with each arm and leg with a modifier key to perform special moves unique to each mech. These attacks can be nullified or countered via blocking, but blocking can be countered via charged attacks. You can also use weapons that fall from the sky to replace either one or both of your arm attacks with a ranged or more powerful melee attack. Your basic attacks, in turn, are limited by your heat meter, meaning you can’t just spam punches until your opponent falls. This provides combat with an interesting give-and-take, trading blows with your opponent and retreating when you're overheated.

To make things more interesting, you can optionally have up to four players control the same mech, each controlling a separate limb. I was only able to draw in one other player to join me in giant robot punching, though the experience I had was significantly different than when I played alone. It was certainly odd handing off control of half the mech to someone else, no longer having to worry about movement, spacing, and kicking. Instead, I only had to focus on punching and camera control, the latter of which is made trivial by the game’s lock-on function. I imagine the difficulty ramps with more enemies and more players controlling the same mech, but Override is at its strongest when the player is concerned with all of its moving parts, not a fraction of them.

A Shiny Coat of Paint

Override definitely has a striking visual style modeled after bright, Saturday morning cartoons. Each mech has a distinct visual outline, bright colors, and a myriad of different skins and cosmetics to collect. One of these is unlocked every time you participate in a multiplayer match or win a mission in single player mode. These operate much like skins in Overwatch, either being a simple recolor or a modified version of the standard model in a different color. These are nice rewards to unlock, but much like Overwatch, it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not you’ll get a skin for a mech you like. The stages you fight in are equally visually robust. Each has its own color palette and array of destructible buildings. Environmental objects shatter as your robot strides or falls through them. Everything feels visually cohesive, even when you’re piloting a giant fish through downtown San Francisco.

The Soul of Wit

Despite all the interesting mechanics and visual polish on display in Override, it is surprisingly short and shallow. Given the array of attacks, there are only eight attacks per robot, with three of those being your basic punches and a kick. This leaves only five unique attacks per robot. Considering you can’t combo attacks from the same limb off of each other, this further decreases the combo potential on the battlefield. Tack on the inherent knockback with each attack, pushing enemies outside of your striking range, and combos are reduced even further. This limits you to maybe a handful of attack sequences that are effective.

Further, the single player game is incredibly short. While there is technically a different story mode for each mech, they only differ by what mech you use and your pilot’s lines. The story beats, missions, and unlocks are the same. Worse, in order to run through with another mech, you have to completely scrap your old playthrough as there is only one save slot and the game saves just before the final boss anyway, mitigating any free play if you happened to enjoy the story missions. Fortunately, you can grind through the main story in about an hour. This might be forgivable if it was your standard fighting game arcade mode, fighting your way through the roster capping off at the final boss. Instead, it’s a handful of horde mode, one-versus-many fight under varied but similar objectives. While it is the game in microcosm and a good primer for getting familiar with any one mech, it is ultimately superseded by the multiplayer.


The Verdict: Good

While an interesting concept, Override is simply too short to hold attention for long. With friends and a focus on multiplayer, you may be able to justify the price tag. Without that, it’s still a solid product worth a look.

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John Gerritzen

John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.


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