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  1. #1

    [NSW] Implosion - Never Lose Hope

    Implosion is a port of a 2015 mobile game on the Switch by Rayark, in a similar fashion to what they did for Voez.

    You play as Jake, a WarMech pilot attempting to stop the XADA for launching an ASA through a wormhole to infest Gaia, the planet where humanity escaped to after the aliens invaded Earth. But then some survivors on Earth are working with the XADA to exact revenge on the Adrillians because they left Earth, and while on the mission Jake meets his uncle Jonathan that has been fighting the XADA ever since Earth was abandoned along a robot dog with a sarcastic AI...OK, stop.
    The story is fairly easy in its setting (kill everything that's no longer human or has never been human) but it's completely disjointed, characters and factions pop up at random, Jake and allies jump between locations with very little connecting tissue, and I've completed both main and secondary campaigns. But then again, if you're playing Implosion you're doing it for giant mechas slicing up aliens, not for the story, and that's where Implosion delivers.

    Jake's WarMech is called the Avalon; Avalon is armed with a sword and a rifle. Y and X string combos together, the rifle is fired by tilting the right analog stick in the direction you want. Hitting enemies at close range or killing them build up RAs, used to execute special moves. Before getting physically hurt attacks must go through a rechargeable shield. Avalon can perform three consecutive dashes before having to recharge.
    Avalon has seven expansion slots, one main slot and six secondary slots. The main slot dictates how many (up to three) and which special moves can be used, while the secondary slots are stat enhacements, including a hacking ability to open otherwise inaccessible areas in certain stages. Chips that go into these slots have three levels of rarity and are found in stages or purchased between missions.

    Stages have a largely linear design, with secret doors usually leading to more encounters and loot rather than shortcuts or alternate paths. The camera is fixed, and in more than one occasion Avalon will be hidden by walls or be dangerously close to the edge of the screen you're running towards to. While the shield protects the health bar, getting hit by traps you couldn't even see or avoid due to lack of time is always frsutrating.
    Combat is not particularly fast, dashes have rather large recovery windows after them, and unless you have equipped a chip that enhances them, they're also short and are more useful to sidestep incoming attacks more than anything else.
    All enemies can take rather large amounts of punishment before going down, and as with many other action games offering close and long range tools, the basic rifle does very little damage. Secondary ranged weapons with limited ammo are scattered around the stages, but it would be nice to have two reliable ways to deal damage, rather than using the rifle to just destroy containers or deliver killing blows to far-away enemies.
    The focus with Avalon is clearly close combat, blows do have a satisfying weight to them, and some of the strikes look incredibly cool. However it doesn't take long to feel completely underpowered, with even basic enemies taking way too many hits to be killed. There's a good selection of enemy types and bosses, but very few feel like properly designed encounters. None come out as blantatly cheap, but fights in some of the later stages will be infuriating due to a mix of fixed camera, stage design, low damage output, and lack of tools (being them secondary weapons or medikits). RAs build up very slowly and there's nothing like perfect dodges to give players a small edge over massed enemies; the spectre of Implosion originally being a mobile game hangs over it all the time, and compared to the vast selection of action games available on consoles (I'm not limiting myself to the Switch, I'm speaking about consoles in general), its systems feel basic and lacking a proper level of polish.

    All missions have special objectives that will give you badges when completed. Badges are used to unlock extra credits, powerful chips, or unlimited ammo for secondary weapons (this requires a lot of badges), and unlock a second playable WarMech, Crimson.
    Crimson works the same way as Avalon (shield, number of dashes, peashooter) but its dashes go farther and uses a staff for close combat, completely changing combos and special attacks. Crimson is more powerful than Avalon, and I've honestly had more fun playing with it than with what should be the hero of Implosion. Using Crimson doesn't slove some basic problems, but at least you don't feel as underpowered as with Avalon.

    As the main story goes on, Implosion unlocks a secondary campaign starring Jonathan. Jonathan's WarMech is drastically different from Crimson and Avalon, not featuring a shield, having only one dash, and favoruing ranged combat. Even standard attacks have a substantial range, and his rifle is a powerful laser able to pass through enemies. Once again all the special moves are unique and center around temporary stat boosts, heals, and area denial. Jonathan starts at level 30 (I think it's the game's level cap) and compared to the other two he's incredibly powerful, making short work of most mob enemies. His campaign is much shorter, with more demanding special objectives, completely new levels, and at times he's with a robot compagnion for added firepower. I've found Jonathan's campaign the highlight of this game, and while there are a few missteps (hello stealth sections), I've had a lot of fun playing with him.

    Completing the main story unlocks a score attack mode.

    Implosion runs well, but I don't think it reaches 60fps in either mobile or docked modes. The art used in cutscenes and portraits is exceptional, and there are some interesting enemy designs as well.
    Sometimes the player's avatar locks into place, usually after knockdowns. I've experienced it with the Pro Pad and in portable mode, so I think it's a bug. As I was writing this I've also recalled that it was reported that Wifi connection attempts could lead to stutters, but again I've experienced it in both modes; it might be linked to the game loading, as when you pick up a secondary weapon the game freezes for a second as it was actually loading the weapon. Whatever it is, it's sporadical and never happened during boss encounters.

    Implosion is OK. It looks very cool and might have been a decent mobile game, but with the many great action games available on consoles, it falls short in many aspects.

  2. #2
    Thanks, BK!
    Any chance you could pop a couple of screenshots into your excellent overview of the game, sir?

    Nothing rude in this NSW game, we're okay, gang.

    The problem is, when I stop thinking [NSW] is "not safe for work", is the day I click a link that I think is for the Switch and is actually some tiddies.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by QualityChimp View Post
    The problem is, when I stop thinking [NSW] is "not safe for work", is the day I click a link that I think is for the Switch and is actually some tiddies.
    I don't think you would mind some surprise tiddies.
    Unfortunately I don't have any screenshots at hand. Would a video suffice?

  4. #4
    Perfect, cheers mate.
    Don't want you to think I'm ungrateful, just wondering what it looks like.


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