Retro has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and developer EntwicklerX have brought us their first ID Xbox release, M.A.C.E which is a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up and harks back to the mid 90’s era of gaming.
First of all, it’s safe to say that it’s a fairly standard affair in that you start the game and then proceed to shoot anything that moves, from enemy space craft to rogue asteroids that block your path. Nothing to complicated and straightforward enough that it doesn’t require any brain power. Sometimes mindless action like this is all you need to unwind. Now there isn’t any backstory added for extra flavour, no reason for being, other than it’s a case of shooting everything in site. Not that it’s a bad thing, but even a little bit of dialogue would have sufficed. The usual “save humanity for the evil invading Zblorg from the planet Acknaf” would have done me personally, but as it stands, you just shoot stuff. Naturally, being an Indie developer you don’t expect too much, as money, time and resources are scarce and that they have to make do with what they have.
Game play feels a little flat in that the weapons on offer don’t feel like they do much at all, especially on the harder difficulties available, and just have that oomph when you are in combat. There is plenty of weapons to choose from, but they all just feel a little weak until you max out the upgrades of course. Unless you die first, in which case, you lose current upgrades and have to start again.
The game itself has enough levels to keep you occupied for a couple of hours at most, and unless you wish to replay the game and challenge yourself on the hardest difficulty, then there’s really not much else to do with the game. Which is a shame, as I really do think that the developer was on to something with M.A.C.E and the potential is there, but they just need to recognise the direction that they need to go in.
In terms of graphics, there is a vibrant and colourful palette on offer, with some gorgeous backdrops to accompany the game instead of a bleak and barren black void of space. Quite the highlight of the game, and given it’s an Indie it’s definitely a plus to see given that there are quite a few ugly games out there. But this isn’t one of them.
The sound effects are again, a standard affair doing what they need to do and neither excellent or terrible. It’s not a part of the game that needs to be outstanding though, so there’s a let off here at least.
As for the achievement hunting community, M.A.C.E. does offer mostly easy achievements for you with just a couple that require some forethought and planning. Nothing too difficult, except a run through Hard to achieve a high score.
Whilst it’s never going to set the world alight as it’s light on actual content, it functions as a game which is exactly what it should be doing. Not to say that it’s a terrible game though, but a more fleshed out experience would have been favourable had the developer had more time and resources to accomplish this. On the plus side, it’s cheap as chips and is a small install, so you ll be playing in no time.
Release Date: 27th June 2018
File Size: 150MB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.