I love games that let you pilot mechs, and I have since I was a kid. Giant robots fighting has been in the collective consciousness for so long, you could even say Rock Em Sock Em Robots counts. There have been games that try to bring that childlike dream into a reality, but they usually take the ultra-realistic slow and lumbering type of mech battles that require serious attention to ammo, ranges, and tactics. Override takes a different approach, with simplified controls that vastly ups the tempo of battle and creates a frenetic onslaught of action that tests your reaction time while also fulfilling that dream of destroying cities like Godzilla.
Override is certainly not the first mech battling game, with games like Mechwarrior, or Gundam games being staples of the genre, but it does learn from its predecessors and tries to bring more of audience to this play style. Most other games can have complicated control schemes that while fun, don’t make it easy for new people to join in. But with a gamepad that uses light and heavy attacks, with special attacks and meters to monitor, it’s more reminiscent of an arcade machine. Being an arena battler definitely changes things up, since it forces confrontation very soon with up close battles being the norm. However simplified controls doesn’t mean intuitive either. Playing with friends, it took us quite a while to figure out how to use the special moves. This included holding the triggers then attacking, and we found that ultimates don’t work until you are low on health, and have a full super meter, none of which was immediately obvious.
Confusing controls aside, the beauty of Override is definitely in its character design. Each mech is unique, and while they all have the same control configuration, the specials vary wildly along with the size and speed of the character as well. The local co-op is great with everyone playing their own mech, but the real fun is when players can take control of a limb to control one giant robot. Satisfying the dreams of every kid who watched Voltron, this mode really does make you feel like you are in a cartoon, or some kind of kaiju movie. Getting the scale of destruction down pat to make you feel epic is not an easy task, but it feels so right to do it in Override. Local play is nice to have, but many would focus on multiplayer, which is unfortunate for them in this case. Online play is pretty hampered at the moment with a lack of player base, and odd decisions like not being able to mute other players or even yourself.
There is a lot to like here, like great graphics, unique characters that you can also customize, a solid local co-op, and in general getting the feeling of giant robots right while not feeling too slow to use. However, the lackluster single player mode with basically no story, no move lists in game, and not being able to do matchmaking with friends really hurts this game with massive potential. I loved the Power Rangers as a kid and I rarely find a game that makes me feel like I’m one of them, but I found that here. It’s normally $30, which sounds like a lot, but with a few tweaks I really think this could become so much more, and I hope it aspires to what I know it can be.