Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad mini Retina
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Aliens have invaded the world's most populated cities and a series of archetypal Mechas (the British one actually looks like a bull dog for crying out loud) are our last defense, left to battle it out in a series of 1-on-1 showdowns.
Rather than gesture controls or static buttons, fights are guided by a slot machine-style spinner. Players must time their button presses well in order to the get their desired command, which can include an attack, a block, or a block-breaker/health-gainer. There is a strategic angle to these commands, too. As players use the attack command their special meter will build to a point where they can unleash a super move that will obliterate their enemies, activated by tapping the bar itself. Alternatively, if enemies have filled their bar, players must select 3 block commands in a row if they wish to successfully defend themselves. During each round the enemy's selections will be revealed before being hidden and put in random order, leaving players with the opportunity to counteract their opponent's moves and capitalize on them.
Each command symbol also has a rank between 1 and 3, giving the player an extra turn if they can match up three highly-ranked commands. The best way to ensure this is to hold the button and then release it, rather than just tapping it, as this can lead to a slight but costly delay. Try to detect the cycle of each spinning wheel too, because each one will repeat the symbols in the same position. The fact that the pattern is cyclic does actually hinder enjoyment a bit since it removes the element of chance and risk, replacing it with a patient wait for the right symbol to come back around.
Although they'll control a variety of robots during Story mode, players must unlock new bots for other modes by trying their luck at the prize machine - paid for with in-game currency called Ores. However it's quite pricey and obviously geared towards getting players to purchase more in-game currency, which seems a tall order for something that relies on pot luck and is by no means a generous method. I would have had preferred it if some robots unlocked as the story progressed and several others were available for purchase. The prize mini-game just feels disheartening in comparison. Survival and Arcade mode extend longevity, but Bluetooth multiplayer is what has the potential to provide the most extensive replayability - though without other robots I'm not sure for how long.
Mecha Showdown is a quirky twist on the mobile fighting genre, the slot machine gameplay potentially being a nice change of pace for fans of other robot fighters such as the successful Real Steel tie-in. However, players might soon find themselves returning to their favorite fighters due to the lack of a significant challenge and a central gameplay mechanic that just isn't that much fun.