Mecha Break Has All the Makings of a Cult Hit
Multiplayer games are a dime a dozen these days, so oftentimes new titles have to do something truly unique to stand out. Mecha Break embraces that idea, by bringing a bit of hero shooter style to high-intensity mech battles. It’s a game that already feels right at home with the pantheon of Gundam and Armored Core titles. After going hands-on with Mecha Break’s Alpha version, the title is already showing promise, and with a little bit of elbow grease it could easily transform into something special.
The best way to describe Mecha Break is if you took the core gameplay of Armored Core VI, combined that with the aesthetic and speed of Gundam, and added a little bit of Overwatch sprinkled on top for good measure.
For the purposes of the Alpha, we had access to the main 3v3 mode, pitting two teams against each other in a variety of game types, including a classical deathmatch along with more unique objectives like escort objectives and diffusing a charge.
The first thing that struck me when jumping into a match is the absurd sense of speed and momentum. Mecha Break absolutely nails that sense of velocity that great mecha games need, and having played a lot of mecha games over the years, I’m reminded by the pace of gameplay of something like Armored Core IV or the Gundam Vs series.
However, it’s that layer of team cooperation that really makes Mecha Break feel different. Most team-based mecha games end up feeling more like fighting games, but for all intents, Mecha Break feels like a hero shooter with mech gameplay. To be clear, there are other mecha games that have had class systems, like Gundam Evolution, but even that still fell into the territory of hero shooter with characters that happen to be mechs. Mecha Break is like the inverse of that, it plays like a mech game but with hero shooter mechanics put on top.
Mechs broadly fall into categories like Attacker, Defender, Support, etc., but under that umbrella each and every suit feels remarkably different — at least the eight that I played in the Alpha did. For example, the Tricera is a lumbering mech with slow speed but massive firepower, able to plant itself in the ground and fire multiple turrets at once. Meanwhile, Falcon is entirely focused on speed and can initiate a flight mode that essentially turns it into a bomber. My personal favorite is Alysnes, an attacker with high defense that can swap between ranged attacks and a sword, and has breakable armor that can be respawned once per life.
“Each mecha in Mecha Break is designed and designated to a specific position, a tactical position within the team and within the battle,” Amazing Seasun says, “That will be a distinctive specialty of Mecha Break in the market of mecha games.”
There’s already some neat interplay between the various classes and mechs, and I constantly had to readjust my style depending on the suit I was up against. Playing as Alysnes I’d swap to sword mode and get up close for the big enemies in an effort to stagger them, but more agile enemies meant I’d need to drop back and try to play defensively.
Despite being an Alpha version of the game, combat and controls felts surprisingly tight in Mecha Break. The game uses a smart lock-on system that keeps you focused on the closest enemy, but automatically-swaps when you shift your vision to another. At the same time, that sense of speed is played out by mapping a designated boost button, letting you glide around the battlefield with ease. Past that, of course, each suit has their own unique abilities and weapons mapped to special weapons buttons. While these controls feel suitable already, there’s obviously room for improvement, especially in terms of tightening up the camera, which gets a bit unwieldy in more intense sections.
My time with Mecha Break focused on PvP, but interestingly enough, the developers have already started talking about some ambitious additions, including a 48-player PvE battle royale that sounds quite unique for a mecha title.
“Generally speaking, it is a unique game mode that allows players to have in-game progression and come across randomization events, like fighting huge bosses within a massive map with your teammates,” Amazing Seasun says, “It will be very different from pure combat modes like 3vs3, or 6vs6.”
It’s an interesting idea, to be sure, but a full-blown mecha battle royale is hard to think about without seeing it in motion. That’s not the only area that the development team has plans for, however, as Mecha Break also seems to be integrating narrative elements. These narrative bits will be woven into the tutorial, as well as the very act of unlocking new characters.
“With each mecha players can get pieces of narrative text, or the back story of each mecha and it’s pilot. This is how we deliver in-game narrative,” Amazing Seasun says, “We’ll also deliver narrative through our publishing method, and in the upcoming days there will be videos, trailers, comics, fiction, and even figures. Various methods of delivering the narrative elements.”
There’s little doubt that Amazing Seasun has an ambitious project on its hands, but the only worry I have at this point is that the studio might be biting off more than it can chew. The core gameplay of Mecha Break already feels rock-solid, but it’s clear unlocking mecha is built around monetization.
Going forward cost of in-game currency versus content is going to be a big question, especially when you introduce something like a battle royale mode that uses all those different playable characters. Still that unique blend of hero shooter style and mecha intensity has left a strong first impression, and if the execution is there, Mecha Break could easily end up a multiplayer cult classic.