Mecha BREAK, at first glance, has all the flash of a mecha anime brought to life. I’m talking massive, colorful robot suits, each with their own movesets, roles, and specialties strafing across arena shooter-style maps in bouts of neon-lit glory. What you might not have been able to glean from its energetic reveal trailer at The Game Awards, though, is that it’s actually a multiplayer-only experience. And with Titanfall on ice and Armored Core 6 burying its PvP behind a few chapters of its campaign, it’s cool to see a mech game on this scale fully commit to multiplayer.
Despite their hulking size, mechs in Mecha BREAK don’t feel like lumbering bots of mass destruction. Instead, they move with speed and grace. Strafing to dodge enemy fire just to get in close to hit them with a few melee attacks before parrying their counterattack with your shield and then finishing the job, feels much tighter than you’d expect. Hits land with the appropriate oomph, and each attack lights up the screen with bright colors. It’s clear Mecha BREAK understands that mechs are inherently cool and that a good mech game needs to transmit that coolness through the controller.
Of the three modes planned for Mecha BREAK’s launch, only two — a 3v3 and a 6v6 mode — were available in the closed alpha I played. Both focus on recognizable PvP structures that you might find in any standard multiplayer shooter with a handful of objectives to capture or play towards, and there’s a solid mix of different things happening here. That said, I hope developer-publisher Amazing Seasun makes them a bigger focus in the final version. Plopping objectives on maps about the size of a scaled-up Halo level makes for good chokepoints to encourage skirmishes, but these objectives don’t feel balanced. Momentum gets to be just a bit too intense here; a few of the matches I played ended far too quickly because my team captured and held every objective right at the beginning of the game which gave us the starting boost we needed to achieve an almost complete blowout.
Beyond the pacing of any individual match, these multiplayer bouts reminded me a lot of Halo. From the time to kill to the types and placements of the objectives to its tense melee showdowns and ranged standoffs – and even down to its map layouts – there’s an unmistakable Halo-like sensibility to the ebb and flow of these matches, and I mean that in the best way possible. I found myself fervently mashing the respawn button through the respawn timer just so I could get back into the action one frame sooner like I was 13 again.
I would like to note, however, that my experience with Mecha BREAK was pretty limited. While I can see the difference in playstyles between various mechs and have cycled through some of the unlockable options, I can’t exactly speak to their diversity in movesets or playstyles beyond their descriptions and their roles like “Attacker,” “Tank,” or “Brawler.” Progression here seems to be pretty well-designed around rewarding regular players through a battle pass-like system, though what I saw is certainly subject to change.
In addition to the hands-on time I had with Mecha BREAK, I also had the opportunity to talk with some of the developers at Amazing Seasun about their approach to designing a multiplayer game, their inspirations, and a handful of other features appearing in Mecha BREAK including its third mode, which wasn’t playable during the closed alpha period. Amazing Seasun hasn’t discussed this mysterious third mode too much, beyond describing it as a PvPvE experience that’s similar to a battle royale. They weren’t able to share much about this mode, spare some very vague details about fighting NPC mecha and enemy players to progress, but if you watch the game’s reveal trailer, you’ll see players fighting a giant boss-like mech.
I came away from the closed alpha and the interview for Mecha BREAK wanting more thanks to the fun, dazzling mech action at its core, but I also came away excited and curious to learn more about its third large-scale multiplayer mode. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait long to see what it’s all about.