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Nex Machina Review: The Nex Great Bullet Hell Shooter

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nex machina
Nex Machina is a fantastic shooter. [Image from Plan of Attack]

After making Resogun and Alienation, it should be no surprise that Nex Machina is another excellent shooter from Housemarque Games. The game is beautiful, ridiculously fast and provides a hefty challenge for those that like their bullet hell shooters hard. It might be too intimidating for some gamers, but there’s no denying that the game’s fast-paced action is very satisfying.

Shoot Everything

When the game starts, players are immediately thrown into a field filled with aliens to destroy and no given instructions. In that sense, it’s very old-school, forcing players to adapt to the game’s hostile environments and foes or get killed. Gamers accustomed to twin-stick shooters should have no problem adapting, while newer fans should check out the controls menu first.

The constant progression of Nex Machina is exhilarating, since clearing each wave results in the player moving to different areas. As expected from a game like this, each area gets harder to beat, with more aliens to kill and humans to save. Saving humans results in a higher score and could unlock some bonuses, so players should keep their eyes peeled for their glowing green light.

Keep in mind that the game instantly brings players to the next area after all the enemies are killed. This forces players to rescue humans and look for bonuses while aliens are chasing them, adding to the difficulty. It’s very challenging, sometimes annoyingly so, but can also lead to some of the most satisfying moments in recent memory.

Like all good bullet hell shooters, Nex Machina has a ton of power-ups players can get, some of which are surprising. While there’s a basic shield and weapon amplifier, a sword can also be obtained, which is pretty rad. Having these are great, since the increasing amount of aliens can trap players and instantly kill them if they’re not careful.

A Nex Gen Shooter

Nex Machina is a very pretty shooter, with plenty of colorful lasers, distinct environments and a ton of dastardly aliens. This is one of the best-looking titles to come from Housemarque Games, which is high praise considering their history. Resogun and Alienation were also great looking games, but they seemingly pale in comparison to the constant insanity seen here.

It also helps that the game runs smoothly, no matter how many opponents are on screen at the same time. Running at 60 fps, players won’t see any slowdown as they venture towards the game’s five worlds and shoot everything. Bullet hell shooters might be a niche game genre these days, but there’s no denying how next-gen the game looks.

Bullet HELL

As discussed before, if players aren’t careful, Nex Machina will kill them before they get the chance to shoot. Looking at the controls in the options is imperative, because the game does not explain any of it’s mechanics. This can be troublesome when going through certain obstacles, some of which are a wee bit unfair to be honest.

Dashing is one of the main features of the shooter, but it would have been nice to know that it can get past walled lasers. It’s part of the self discovering nature of the game, so consider this a free tip if you’re planning to get it. The game also has a limited lives system so each death really means something, since losing all lives will have the player’s score reset.

Verdict

Nex Machina is a brilliant bullet hell shooter that should please fans of the seemingly niche genre. It’s beautiful, fast-paced and incredibly challenging, like any good shooter should be, with local co-op to boot. The game might be too difficult at times, but it’s worth a try for anyone curious about it.

Pros

  • Easy To Play, Hard To Master
  • Beautifully Chaotic
  • Satisfying Challenges
  • Local Co-Op

Cons

  • Can Be Too Difficult At Times
  • The Dashing Feature Could Have Been Explained

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Note: This game was reviewed on a standard PS4. The reviewer was given a copy of the game by Plan Of Attack.

The Bitbag is a contributor for OpenCritic, one of the leading games-only aggregate websites in the industry. A pool of other Nex Machina reviews can be seen here.

Also Read: Nex Machina: Resogun Devs Showcase Particle Effects

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