Go Mecha Ball is a hybrid game of isometric pinball mayhem and mech-based tactical combat. Whilst you wouldn't think that such an unusual fusion would work, it has thoroughly captivated me in a big way, and I'm here for it!
The game begins with a short comic-style animation detailing how on planet Spira, Cat Rascal (our heroic female protagonist) has built a mech suit to explore the ominous portals that have appeared across her lands.
Go Mecha Ball features a robust tutorial mode that gets you up to speed with the basics of movement, functionality and how to blast up the bad guys. Sporting 25 guns, and around 50 upgrades, there is no end to the combinations of firepower and perks you can mix, but be warned, you will need to keep on your toes even if you find an OP pairing as the enemies are relentless.
A Combination of Styles, Super Stylish Throughout
Bringing forth Roguelike properties into the fray, Go Mecha Ball sees you conquering wave after wave of bots and creatures that have strayed into your dimension, and should you lose, you are sent reeling back to square one, with no continues at your disposal. With no meta-progression, it's back to the drawing board and you'll have to hightail it back through the numerous waves of baddies, with more honed tactics and strategies, to progress.
Using the rolling mechanics for offensive manoeuvres and typically defensive strategies makes Go Macha Ball a game that forces you to be aggressive, emphasizes learning patterns and tactfully annihilates your attackers at close quarters, to gain ammo back. Yes, blasting away with one of the 25 weapons will get you only so far, you have to use the main mechanic of slamming into your foe as a ball to stock your armoury.
Your armoury comprises the standard pistol, SMG, and shotgun fodder, but also adds amusing twists on guns such as the Disturber which bounces off walls, and the Quack 2, a yellow rubber duck-shaped gun that quacks when you fire!
In addition to your main weapons, you can choose an additional power-up or two to buff your playstyle in between levels. With options including health upgrades, explosives, gravitational pulls, EMPs, quicker cool downs, and increased collision damage to name but a few, there are a wide range of possibilities for you to combine to make the best loadout for you.
Using the yellow fragments to buy upgrades in your current run you can enhance yourself temporarily or choose to put it towards unlocking new characters in the shop, whereas the blue glitch tokens can be used to unlock more guns and perks that persist between runs, though this only increase the chance of those weapons showing up in your proceeding runs it won't increase your initial loadout each playthrough.
If one run doesn't work out, just mix it up a bit and choose different abilities/upgrades the next time around!
Fluid Frame Rates, Pesky Perspectives
The game's graphics are a wonderfully heady mixture of neon lights and futuristic machinery, with a unique isometric perspective that doesn't appear in most modern games, and with four worlds to explore, boss battles and three further characters to unlock, it's disappointing that there is only around an hour of play per world.
Controlling the game couldn't be simpler with twin-stick aiming and movement and onscreen prompts for the special moves and perks.
Playing this on Steam Deck was a breeze with the controls set to a perfect configuration upon boot, though I had a couple of occasions where the fixed isometric angle of things meant that an enemy was hiding behind a ramp or I was unable to see something occasionally, but it doesn't detract much from the fun: think Monkey Ball, or Sonic 3D Blast when it comes to controlling your character, but with blasters!
Give it a Try on Game Pass!
Go Mecha Ball is a fantastic game that fuses pinball with guns and gives a fresh outing to isometric twin-stick shooters. The story is somewhat forgettable, but the action-packed levels are highly addictive given the various combinations of guns and upgrades you have at your disposal.
I would advise that Go Mecha Ball is delightfully refreshing, fast-paced and great-looking, however, it's quite a short game that can be completed in around four hours, unless you're a completionist.
With it being included in Microsoft's Game Pass, I highly recommend that you check it out for yourself, as it's adrenaline-packed, fully stocked and ready to rock!