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Nex Machina | PS4 Review

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Housemarque Games, the studio behind the very first Playstation Plus Subscribers "free" game Resogun, Alienation and Matterfall. Housemarque worked in collaboration with Eugene Jarvis (creator of Robotron 2048 and Smash TV). Nex Machina gives a nod to arcade classics of yesteryear with a healthy injection of the styles from Resogun and HD flair.
Resogun - Created by Housemarque and notable as the first PS Plus free game for the Playstation 4
In Nex Machina, humans have become overly dependent on robot tech and all the while the robots have become self-aware and less dependent on their human counterparts. It's the moment when the machines become more evolved and intelligent than humans will ever be that we all need to start worrying. In a colourful way, the machines turn their intentions on humans and in an attempt to wipe out the human race, they begin attacking their creators.

Nex Machina presents itself immediately as an arcade style twin-stick shooter with the main element being a score chaser. The similarities between Nex Machina and Resogun are immense which would make you feel that Nex Machina is a soft reboot sequel for Resogun, rather than a new game to its own. This is far from an issue for the game as the similarities are only skin deep. While the game's pixelated special effects and asset construction are reminiscent of the spaceship shooter, the game play is very different from the styles used previously.
Stunning pixelation occurs during explosions which gives amazing qualities to the special effects
You are presented with a top down view of your character with the express goal of running, gunning and saving humans (sound familiar). In doing this you are given a dash move with a short cooldown timer that will enable you to dash through enemies, gunfire and lasers without injury. Further to this you need to continuously move around the level in order to evade the onslaught of enemies which will inevitably overrun your television. So on your way to victory, save humans and blow up all of the machines. Sounds easy right? Well depending on what difficulty you play on, you might find this one to be quite the gamepad twister.

Nex Machina has a charm to its difficulty. After all it is a score chaser so it will have no qualms in destroying you over and over and over again until you finally manage to get that multiplier to max and knock your mate off the top of the leaderboard.
Running and gunning is the only way to make it through alive with all of your points intact
The most obvious aspect to Nex Machina is its amazing colour palette that does the game great justice in appearance. Blowing absolutely everything to pieces only just to watch the pixel cubes blow around the screen is satisfying at very least. Amazing special effects are littered throughout which make Nex Machina exactly like popping candy on the tongue. Well not really but I hope I've made my point here. Just when the first level looked so good, your mind gets a whirlwind of a time in the level segment transitions which are "trippy" (to quote my tired 90's boy mind). Upon saving the most humans you can and blowing all of the machines in an area to bits, you are treated to a swirling camera which will revolve around the world and lock onto the next segment in a beautifully designed level structure. You character will fly along with you and land at the starting point of the next section of the level.

There are five level chapters which contain 15 smaller segments within, which are accessible from the start, however there is sixth chapter which is only accessible once you have played through the previous five on Experienced difficulty or above. Noting this, that you can only fully complete the game and defeat the final boss this way.

Nex Machina can be your best friend but if you play to win, it will also be your worst enemy. Like a score chaser should be, the gameplay is easy enough to play, but it will issue you reality checks often when you try to go hard for a super high score. The Rookie difficulty setting offers you an arena to learn the game before going hammer and tongs on the game. You have unlimited continues which will allow you to get through the game relatively hassle free. The Experienced difficulty ramps it up a little by limiting continues to 99, but it also adds more objectives for you to complete and also more enemies to beat per level. Veteran difficulty jumps up a little by only allowing 10 continues while adding more objectives and enemies. Finally there is Master difficulty which is locked when you start the game and will unlock only once you've completed the game on Veteran difficulty. Now it is rumoured that there is one other difficulty called Hero which will unlock when Hero difficulty is finished, but I can't confirm that due to my inability to move my fingers that fast in synch with my brain.
When you're surrounded by enemies and you feel like there's no more hope left, there probably isn't
Game modes include Arcade, which is the staple and most common place to start your play through. Arena mode is a single score chaser environment which throws in modifiers to up the ante and keep the gameplay interesting. Some levels will challenge you to get the highest score possible within a time limit, while others will only allow you to accrue points while at a specific score multiplier within the game. It's punishing and painful at times but this is the place to challenge your friends to beat you. The score boards offer world, country, city and friend based displays which will assist you if you just want to combat against your mates and not the world's finest.

While Nex Machina is a solid, responsive and competent arcade score chaser, there is one glaringly obvious missing piece to the puzzle. Sadly at launch there is only the option for local co-op only. There is no online option to play with your friend at present. This is something that I hope is patched into the game sooner rather than later as it is here where these games shine for many including myself. Get together with your friends and have a laugh, or a cry while using your champion mate to carry you across the finish line.

Nex Machina will see you dashing around levels, picking up power-ups for weapons and shields and saving human beings all while trying to score big. It's a fun and well-crafted piece of video game which is hard to fault in most aspects of the game. There's little to fault with the gameplay as it sets out to be exactly what it is. The game's overall 80's theme is felt strong with neon colours and a soundtrack that makes me want to find myself a denim jacket and sew on patches and grow my hair long. A fantastic follow up to Resogun from the same developer and all of you out there that had a blast in Resogun, you're going to find yourself at home with Housemarque's new game Nex Machina which is available now on Windows PC and Playstation 4.


  • Fully fledged arcade Campaign that can be played solo or in local co-op with a friend
  • Tons of secret and alternate paths in each world
  • Upgradeable player character with access to six (6) different special weapons, all of which can be lost as you perish in a torrent of endless robots
  • Deep layered gameplay that lets you juggle between saving humans and trying to stay alive
  • Complex enemy design and pulsating bullet patterns to get you in the zone
  • Three different main difficulty settings with more to unlock as you learn the ropes. Each difficulty offers new things to learn and conquer
  • A changing challenge mode called the Arena, where you can return to locations in the game that are now totally different with faster speeds and other fresh modifications.
  • Compete to beat your friends and the world with unique leaderboards for each challenge
  • Unlockable skins, weapon colours and more that open up as you play through the different modes available
Lucas Aurelius
Aussie Gamers Express
22nd June 2017
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