The 1997 cult classic Starship Troopers may have shown the citizens of Earth how to deal with a bug infestation, but SMU Guildhall approaches this dilemma in a new way with their new title Tex-Mechs. Featuring a hulking mech, countless insectoids, and a wealth of firepower, does it manage to tread new ground?
Despite featuring a larger-than-life mech, any FPS fan can quickly pick up the controls found here. WASD is the name of the game, with revolvers, flamethrowers, and combine launchers coming into play. Though players will not be able to crouch or jump, there is the ability to charge forward that doubles as an attack option and an added boost of speed. Those looking to undergo some crowd control can also stomp on the group to create a shockwave that reverberates a good distance. Controls can feel a bit cumbersome at times (you are in a mech, after all), but it’s far from a dealbreaker.
The game stresses the importance of its firepower – there is never a time where players will be hurting for options. Though the melee-based attacks are stuck on a cooldown, there is never a time where combat is not an option. Just be warned that this makes the game a bit too easy – we were able to cruise through the title without sacrificing too much health, and the slightest threat was quickly remedied with a number of recovery power-ups.
It’s just a shame that the combat itself feels underwhelming. Countless scorpion-based enemies come out of the woodwork to dampen your day, but actually shooting the little buggers lacks the impact that titles like DOOM packs. Wielding a flamethrower against these hordes should offer up a thrill, but in Tex-Mechs it feels like you’re simply painting them with orange liquid. It’s really unfortunate, and the enemy recolors do not help its case.
The main goal of Tex-Mechs is to get to the radio tower in New Texas, but a number of waypoints make traversal easy. There is the occasional sub-objective along the way – boot up a generator, destroy some hives – but things are always clear. The canyons of this title aren’t the most diverse landscape out there, but it doesn’t need to be – there’s just enough variety in its surroundings to keep players captivated. It’s just a shame that things are over before they even have the chance to begin – we were able to go from title screen to credits in around 20 minutes, even taking our time.
Rounding things out is a cel-shaded presentation that takes cues from titles like Borderlands. It’s not the most detailed title on the market today, but it does give it a unique look. Just be warned that it is far from the optimized title on the market today. Though players can utilize framerates of 120 and beyond, it ended up hard crashing our machine with some more conservative settings.
Tex-Mechs’ combination of mechs and bugs will appeal to gamers the world over, but the cumbersome combat and lack of impact prevent it from being a smash hit.
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