I picked up Mechstermination Force because I was looking for another boss battle game after Cuphead. After a few levels I quickly realized that Mechstermination Force is not a good game. There’s a lot to love about it - the core idea of the game and the boss phases and art designs are great, but the actual gameplay is just plain bad. After playing Cuphead, where the combat is so incredibly smooth and you never feel like you die unfairly (even if you die a ton), nearly every single one of my deaths in Mechstermination Force felt like the game’s fault and not mine.

Jumping in the game is terrible. It’s awkward, floaty, hard to direct and the input definitely seems delayed at times. That delay seems present in a lot of the game where the transition from running, shooting, jumping, changing directions, etc. never seems to be happening quickly enough. When the entire game is about quick decisions, dodging bullets, and jumping, this delay is a constant annoyance.

Additionally the wrench attack when you hit the bosses’ exposed power core, while a cool idea, was clearly not programmed correctly. There was one boss in particular - the giant snail - where my wrench was repeatedly passing through the core when it should have been hitting it.

As much as I wanted to like Mechstermination Force I uninstalled it after a couple hours. It reminded me a lot of Furi, another action boss fight game that I felt had some major shortcomings in its combat. It reminded me why I only play the best and most polished shooters, action games, bullet hells, etc. When a game isn’t fast paced action it’s easy to forgive some design flaws when there’s other stuff going on to balance it out, but when that’s all your game is it ruins the experience.

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For now I’m just gonna get my fix from the Contra Collection. Contra for NES still holds up incredibly well. The simpler mechanics laid out are matched perfectly by the quality of gameplay. I find that some new action games are trying to do too much and just don’t have the quality of combat to back up the world they’ve created. Finding that sweet spot between what you want to do and what you are able to do is crucial in these types of games. If that balance isn’t there you do what I do: spend an hour dying on one really cool boss fight because of bad jumping and then uninstall.