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Hardcore Mecha is the anime robo-shooter I've always dreamed of

Out now, Hardcore Mecha is a platform shooter that feels designed to fulfil a very specific wish: That the gorgeous attack animations from the Super Robot Wars SRPG series were interactive. From the little but I’ve played so far, I reckon they’ve pulled it off, even if the mecha are obviously inspired by famous anime, rather than licensed designs. Developed by RocketPunch Games, it’s a primarily single player, story-heavy run-and-gunner, with a local or online PvP party mode. See in in motion below, in what appears to be several trailers cut into one big shiny showcase video.

While I’m only a level and a bit into the game myself, there’s a good bit of heft to even the agile starting mech, which is a key part of any game with giant robots. Among the playable hardware is an obviously Macross-inspired transforming suit, a more American-styled artillery mech and a fancy super-powered one with rocket punches and chest-lasers. While I’m not far enough in, you apparently get to go sans-mecha for some on-foot combat and stealth, and un multiplayer players eject when downed for a last chance at revenge. It looks like there’s some side-scrolling space combat to spice things up, too.

There’s a few minor issues so far. There’s no difficulty options I’ve seen, outside of intentionally skipping on upgrades (each mech has a huge upgrade tree and tons of guns), so you’ll just have to roll with what the game throws at you. Oddly, despite the game highly recommending a gamepad at start-up, it controls better with mouse and keyboard. The mouse allows free aim of ranged weapons, while on a controller, the right analogue stick selects items, and both movement and targeting are mapped to the left stick. Lastly, while never incomprehensible, the subtitles so far (audio is Japanese-only) are a bit rough.

Update: One minor correction – there’s several ‘easy mode’ items installable in the mech customisation screen. Not an obvious place to hide it.

Still, I’m picking at nits on what looks like a gorgeously animated good’un, and hopefully it holds up as I play further into it. As a related aside, if you’ve got a PS4, the most recent four Super Robot Wars games (From SRW OG to T) were released in English, just not in US and European stores. The console is region-free, and Amazon stock import copies, so it’s finally available to all.

Hardcore Mecha is out now on Steam and 15% off for the duration of the summer sale, bringing it down to £13.16/€14.27/$16.99.

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Dominic Tarason

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