When I saw Assault Gunners HD Edition scream onto the Switch eShop I was instantly star struck. The large and varied mechs made themselves visibly known and the customization screamed Armored Core for me. With all that infatuation being thrown my way, I had to give this game a look. So without further adieu, let us jump right on in and say… This game is a bit of everything. From the overly simple mission types, to the awesome variation in mech-customization, to the paltry AI, Assault Gunners HD Edition brings everything it can to the Switch.
The mission types are of a standard affair and usual drive the player to do a cyclical task of holding zones or defeating enemies. While it is far from a demanding game, it does get pretty hectic when you have multiple enemies gunning you and your allies down in the harder modes. Even some of the later missions provide you time constraints and insane amounts of enemies. Your AI buddies, while upgradeable always seem to be in the way of enemy fire, i.e. standing still and running towards a missile barrage, thus rendering themselves completely useless. While it is not impossible to complete a mission on your own, it is a bit more difficult. That being said the missions and their difficulty modifiers are more than adequate to keep the player entertained and challenged.
Within each mission is a larger, branching narrative about interstellar strife and you the player leading a DAT strike force on Mars. This branch is tasked with handling a sudden uprising of the automated machine labor force and has to maintain the peace, while the struggling colony grapples with this sudden and dangerous situation. Not an engaging narrative, but not a terrible one. I did not find myself once fully engaged with the story and while most games that would be seen as negatively impacting, it doesn’t really matter for this title. The missions are what flesh out the game and it is the fun that one gets out of those missions that really matters. The only issue I had with story points was that of seemingly missing subtitles(?) and having exhausted my options for enabling them I am left to guess as to what is transpiring. Again though, the main emphasis for this game is the swarm/horde gameplay versus an engaging narrative.
Bringing us to the gameplay aspect, which is pretty darn solid, if not a little stiff. Like any other good mecha-game before it, Assault Gunners HD Edition brings a mech game unlike any other to the Switch and it is great. The enemy variety and difficulty is only matched by you perfecting your mechs into the ultimate killing machines. It is amazingly satisfying to trounce through swaths of enemy forces with a missile barrage or canon barrage. The emphasis on fighting drove of robotic enemies is even reinforced through the games Inferno Mode. A mode which ultimately ends up just chucking wave after wave of enemies at you, ramping in difficulty as you progress through the main missions to unlock newer levels. Outside of gameplay types, you of course have the other meat of the game and that is the level of customization in your mechs. Want one with treads or a bipedal leg? Go for it. Want to use nothing but lasers and rockets? Knock your socks off!
The only limitation is the in-game currency, which you unlock by simply playing the game; awesome! You even get access to different torso designs so you are able to customize not only yourself, but the looks of your AI comrades too. This gives the player a chance to fully specialize each mech on their team for a certain task. Not too bad for a Nintendo Switch game am I right? That being all said, this is a very bear bones game and that is where it hurts most. You don’t have an expansive and sprawling map to explore nor super awesome AI or dynamic gameplay. What you do get is a game that is built for the busy among us, the grab and go gamers.
Being able to not have to worry about saving or being locked into an hour long mission is what gives this game an appeal. Each mission can be completed in about 15 minutes or less, depending on difficulty of course. This in of itself is worth it, especially since you are only paying 9.99USD (11.99USD if you opt for the complete edition which bundles the 4.99USD DLC pack). The DLC pack is not bad for 5 bucks either as it grants you fifteen more missions, more inferno maps and more equipment. So all in all the amount of return versus initial investment you get is pretty phenomenal.
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