Nex Machina reinforces Housemarque’s status as the undisputed king of the dual-joystick shooter. This collaboration with arcade veteran Eugene Jarvis (he of Defender and Smash TV fame) is a borderline perfect spin on the genre, as you take control of a futuristic space pilot pushing back against hordes of voxel-based robots.
Your objective? To save the last humans, of course – fans of the Finnish developer will appreciate all of the nods to previous titles that the studio has baked into the mechanics of this new arrival. As you blast your way through the bad guys, you’ll eventually pick up power-ups that will increase the range of your firepower and the aptitude of your dash.
But while the game seems simple on the surface, it’s absolutely jam-packed with nuance: dashing at the end of the stage will net you a points bonus, while keeping humans in the field (and thus in danger of attack) will allow you to up one of many multipliers more efficiently, thus increasing your final score. There are also tons and tons of secrets.
So, while it’ll take you about an hour to beat arcade mode on the easiest difficulty, you’ll barely have scratched the surface by that point. Accessing alternate paths through the six worlds and locating hidden humans is all part of the fun, and now that you can watch back replays of other players’ best runs, you'll learn more about the game within the game itself.
There’s also an arena mode which re-purposes the levels in a variety of scenarios: time attack, increased speed, and so on. As you unlock medals here, you’ll earn currency which can be spent on cosmetics or unlocking even more challenges. Furthermore, the game dynamically breaks out new targets for you based on your leaderboard position, encouraging you to have “one more go”.
And in addition to all of that, there’s local co-op, which adds even more intensity to the already frenetic foray. As you’d expect of Housemarque, everything runs at a rock-solid 60 frames-per-second, and much like Resogun, the sheer abundance of voxels on screen are a real technical feat. The music is also suitably hyperactive, serving up some slick techno beats.
Nex Machina is everything that an arcade game should be: addictive and accessible yet bursting with hidden depth. Housemarque continues to be the master of the dual-joystick shooter with a sublime effort that harks back to the coin-op glory days of yesteryear. This is a near-perfect complement to the ridiculously good Resogun, and deserves to find a place among your PS4's hard drive space.
Any questions, let me know.
Yikes, could fit that review inside a fortune cookie. Still, I get shorter reviews are where it's at on here these days. Guess it's a preorder from me though!
I know I could find this info elsewhere but does it have Pro enhancements? And HDR?
Another hit for Sony the game looks awesome maybe I'll give it a try
@kyleforrester87 Yes, it's higher resolution on PS4 Pro. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have about the game not covered in the review.
@get2sammyb Weird question, but how do you fire in this game? Do you have to press the trigger like Aliennation, or is it automatic like Resogun?
@Wesker You just push the right analogue stick in the direction you won't to shoot — no fire button, apart from your "specials".
Just hurry up and buy Housemarque, sony!
@get2sammyb Good stuff, thanks. And yeah a combination of shorter reviews and you guys answering queries is a dream.
@get2sammyb Great! That's how I like it. Pure twin-stick shooter goodness.
No online co-op is a big disappointment. It was the best part of Resogun for me and my friends.
Preordered this on a whim some time ago along with Parrapa The Rapper Remastered & completely forgot about it after the delay.
Looks like it turned out great & I'm looking forward to trying it out. Never played a twin stick shooter on console before (-Nier Automata mini game lol).
@SZRT_CIC_Ice Yeah, it's a shame there's no online co-op, but don't let it put you off the game.
@Fight_Teza_Fight If you enjoy this, make sure you get Super Stardust and Resogun as well.
I am so hyped for this! Pre-ordered.
I'll do a video later so you can see the first world or something.
It's the main reason I get these kind of games...
Off I go to the psn before the preorder discount disappear
Hopefully Housemarque will patch in online co-op later on, they're usually pretty good with their post-launch support
Other than that this sounds excellent!
I've already got it downloaded just waiting for it to unlock in 9 hours or so. Its 2.16GB with patch V1.02, cannot wait love twin-stick shooters.
@wiiware better be quick, only a few hours left I think! Fingers crossed the exclusive theme for pre-ordering is decent.
@LieutenantFatman Just bought wipeout a couple hour ago, miss the digital arbook and ps4 theme
At least I'm not missing nier automata ps4 preorder theme, that's my favorite ps4 theme so far, along with psnow and tearaway unfolded theme.
Awesome to see Housemarque back on form, while Alienation wasn't bad (far from it) it was the type of game that you needed to play with others to get the most from it. Hopefully Matterfall is great too as Outland was a very underrated gem.
@get2sammyb What are the enemies like? is there a big variety of types that attack in different ways? are there any bosses?
Get in! Super review time to start blowing stuff up!
I'd expect nothing less from Housemarque.
Between this game and MaterFall, Housemarque has stolen my entire summer if they are anywhere near as addictive as Resogun.
@Simon_Fitzgerald Yes, there are lots of enemy types, with new ones introduced in each new world. Some of these will drive you up the wall, but learning to manage each type is part of the fun.
If I'm not a fan of twin stick and I already own Resogun and Alienation, Neon Chrome etc etc I'm not going to be buying this, nice to see swish polished games on the store though.
@get2sammyb How did you find the difficulty over the course of the game? I am reading other reviews that say the difficulty curve gets pretty intense in later levels. Did you find that the difficulty was fair or were there control throwing moments?
@get2sammyb any chance we get lucky and this ends up on PS Plus 6 mo-1 yr like Resogun?
@Bluetrain7 It gets really tough but if you play on Rookie you have unlimited continues, and obviously if you're finding it too tough you can prioritise just killing enemies until you've mastered all the systems, and then start looking for humans.
If you think you're going to get all the humans and unlock all the secrets on your first playthrough then you're doing it wrong, obviously.
@smythelove Could do. Impossible to say really, though.
@get2sammyb Hi Sammy, I think the speed and human-saving element makes this game more Robotron than Smash TV. Jarvis also programmed the former, and it was Smash TV's inspiration. It seems like Asteroids, Defender, and Robotron have all been covered by Housemarque now.
What's the price of this one? I'm interested!
Haven't tried Housemarque's stuff yet. Though I'll pick this up someday, and maybe look at Resogun now that I remember it.
@DerMeister Resogun is incredible, totally worth it.
@doctommaso To be honest I've never played Robotron so just went straight to Smash TV, but sounds like a fair shout.
@DerMeister Time to rectify!
Just played the first level, it's top down Resogun. Which put a big smile on my face.
@hadlee73 Haha cool idea!
@get2sammyb Is it hdr supported on OG ps4?
I don't need convincing about how good the game is after playing the demo at Best Buy in the US. I preordered it for $16 with $4 off as a ps+ member
@Bluetrain7 matterfall doesn't look nearly as fun as nex machina based on the E3 footage.
@Ewflex I don't think there is HDR, but I may be missing an option.
@Ewflex Maybe not, but I feel like it has some unique gameplay elements that could make it interesting to try.
@get2sammyb Thank you for the notes on difficulty. I always appreciate a challenge especially when it involves building skills. So it is good to know that it stacks like Resogun where you can make it through the levels on the first playthrough, but it has enough content that replayability is high along with the desire to build mastery of the mechanics.
Thanks "Sammy B is on the cut". That is a a reference to a DJ with the jungle brothers. You probably don't know but his name is Sammy B a old school hip hop group.
Love the game so far. Beat my first play through on experienced difficulty after 3 hours, thanks to how much harder the last 3 bosses are.
I hope Housemarque adds online co-op in a future update like they did with Resogun.
The fact that you can watch the playthrough's of people on the leaderboards is my favorite part. It's such a brilliant idea IMO, and keeps the game competitive, but easy to get into.
ITs hdr for the OG ps4.
@get2sammyb I use euros xD But yeah it's 19.99 too
I guess I'll wait for a sale, seems a bit steep to me for now
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