Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X|S
January 25, 2024
Super Rare Originals
Whale Peak Games
When enemies from a strange portal take all the fun away, you jump in after them to get it back. That’s the premise of Go Mecha Ball, though it’s barely touched upon after the initial scene is set. The real draw here is curling up into a ball and ramming enemies to destroy them. Armed with a variety of weapons and abilities, you fight your way through waves of robots to reclaim your world’s fun.
Fighting robots with a combination of collision and weapons is exciting and fast-paced. Finding the right combination of weapons and abilities makes each playthrough unique. The learning curve isn’t too high, letting you learn with the upgrades the game bestows upon you and encouraging experimentation. Despite some flaws, Go Mecha Ball proves great for those who need a quick action fix.
Go Mecha Ball starts with a happy world where everyone has fun every day. This changes when beings emerge from a portal and start destroying the world. The survivors decide to fight back, diving into the portal to reclaim the fun that was taken away from them. Constructing robots that can withstand the conditions of the portal, the animal creatures jump inside, ready to fight.
The story doesn’t have much relevance outside of the beginning and end of the game. It’s easy to forget that there is a story at all since most of the game consists of fighting robots in a fast-paced environment. It would have been nice to get more exposition, but since this is an arcade-style game, an excuse plot is perfect.
Go Mecha Ball’s greatest strength is its collision mechanic. Every character you control can curl up into a ball and roll around the stage. You can also dash while rolling to collide with enemies. This deals damage and can interrupt some enemy attacks. Rolling also allows you to utilise the environment, going up ramps or taking tubes to reach higher ground. Colliding with enemies gives you another offensive option other than using abilities or weapons while accelerating the pace of the battle.
The excitement comes from the enemies appearing and deciding the best way to handle them. Interrupt their attacks with a collision, then fire your weapon while they are helpless. Not every enemy can be taken down the same way, and they won’t hesitate to use the environment to their advantage. Dodge their attacks, learn their attack patterns, and destroy them before they hurt you.
“It’s genuinely adrenaline-rushing when you deal with all of the game’s chaos at once. “
It’s genuinely adrenaline-rushing when you deal with all of the game’s chaos at once. You will get hurt during the mayhem or get unlucky as opponents react faster than you think. Maybe your abilities didn’t work the way you like or you got disadvantaged with your upgrades. Fortunately, you can unlock more weapons, abilities, and upgrades after every run. There’s plenty of room to make mistakes and learn how to play while practicing with your existing arsenal.
Go Mecha Ball is easy to learn and it doesn’t suddenly jump in difficulty. While enemies, bosses, and stages increase in difficulty, none of them are ever beyond your current loadout. Success isn’t expected in the beginning, but you aren’t thrown into a dangerous situation randomly. You are eased into the process and there’s plenty of room to practice. There’s also a robust tutorial that teaches you almost everything you need to know.
You can skip over the tutorial after you lose, but the way the stage is designed doesn’t make that clear. Every loss puts you back at the initial stage area without letting you see the other areas. Instead of rolling past the tutorial, you might believe that you can’t skip it because the arrows are pointing towards it. Respawning in front of the upgrades would be easier and make it clearer for players that they don’t need to keep playing the tutorial.
Your roster consists of four characters, each with their own starting weapon, ability, and stats. This is supposed to encourage players to choose different characters and experiment, finding a playstyle that works for them. Unfortunately, the lack of healing options tends to push players towards the starting character, Cat Rascal, since they start with a healing option. During gameplay, it’s also possible to make up for the difference in stats as well as switch weapons to match those of other characters. It makes choosing characters feel like a pointless exercise since the differences are minute.
As you progress through the stages, each environment becomes more elaborate than the last. Seeing the different stages is impressive, but that elaborate design comes at a cost. It becomes harder to get through the stages and find the enemies you must defeat. In the beginning, this isn’t a problem as the thrill of fighting enemies dominates your mind. But as you start getting more experience, you learn that enemies tend to hide away on hard-to-reach levels.
Without a reliable jump mechanic, it’s not easy to reach those enemies. Your combo meter is easily disrupted and you spend lots of time trying to reach enemies. Depth perception isn’t one of the game’s strengths, which complicates your landings when chasing enemies. When enemies can freely shoot at you but there’s no easy way to reach them, it does become frustrating.
When you spend more time finding enemies than fighting them, you feel something’s not right for an action arcade game. Your weapons don’t have the range to aim at long distances and combat isn’t as fluid when you are in the air. It drags the game down when you’re not actively participating in the frantic pace of combat.
Despite the game’s flaws, Go Mecha Ball delivers on its premise. Every boss is a challenge, every enemy wave is difficult, and every weapon is useful. Define your own playstyle, figure out how to defeat enemies, and unlock more tools for your arsenal. The game is perfect for short bursts of entertainment and you get progressively better through your upgrades. If you love the rush of adrenaline that comes with fast-paced combat, Go Mecha Ball will almost definitely satisfy.
Collision combat is a fun mechanic to play with
Easy to pick up as you slowly master your new arsenal
Enemies & bosses are at a reasonable difficulty
The differences between characters quickly fades after playing
Later stages have you search for enemies instead of fighting them
Go Mecha Ball is great at delivering fast-paced action thanks to its collision combat. You constantly balance rolling into enemies and firing with your weapons while dodging attacks. The enemies you face are unrelenting in their attacks and the boss battles are challenging. The game isn’t perfect, as you’ll spend too much time chasing enemies. But for a game that gives you a quick action fix, it’s hard to dislike Go Mecha Ball’s frantic pace.