GamingReview: Mechajammer

Review: Mechajammer

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Rarely do I give up playing a game before I at least get halfway but Mechajammer by Whalenought Studios is shocking, and not in the good way.

The game is dark, dreary, and confusing at best. Not to mention the overwhelming (or rather underwhelming) conversations with NPCs and endless “combat” with rats. Most of the locations lead to nothing. But when you do finally find what you need the depth of interaction can be rewarding. There’s something joyous about having to type ‘admin’ and a login password to use a computer terminal, for example. This, however, is one of the only good elements to the game, which is saying a lot.

The map system is severely lacking so finding where you need to go is more luck than following any route. Endlessly walking around very similar looking, brown streets is unfortunately what I spent most of my time doing. When you aren’t endlessly walking around this myriad of replica streets you could be talking to an endless myriad of replica homeless people or fighting rats… or some other random people that have decided to attack you for reasons I never fully worked out. It’s when this happens that the game really gets frustrating because of the combat mechanics.

Using guns seems to do little damage (assuming you can find ammo) and so you typically end up resorting to melee weapons which break easily. I made the mistake of using throwing weapons and spent longer-than-necessary picking up each one individually. The combat mode only moves when you do in a turn-based approach, however, the point-and-click is fiddly due to poor accuracy of the targeting. Often, however, you are out-numbered and will die a lot.

With any RPG you would expect a rich world full of interesting dialogue and unfortunately again this is where Mechajammer fails. Most NPCs have nothing to say and when they do the game does nothing with it. It seems that any choices you make have very little impact. At best, you’ll lose some money due to a glitch and at best you may get a lackey to follow you around. But overall, it’s bland; much like the environment.

Movement can be difficult to get right in a point-and-click game and sadly Mechajammer isn’t one of them. Trying to get anywhere feels like a struggle where it isn’t a straight line and in your line of sight. It’s like the game doesn’t quite know how to handle simple tasks like walking through a door and into a room without glitching your avatar and requiring far more clicks than should be necessary to navigate it.

Perhaps the most unforgivable aspect of the game is that the story is confused, incomplete and gives you absolutely no reason to care. Character creation choices while at first glance looked amazing (true classic RPG style) it’s all meaningless. The characters are all two-dimensional and mostly the same. I’m not necessarily sure I could tell you what was really going on for the many, many hours I played. Beyond my ship crashed and I don’t know anything despite my character supposedly being a veteran soldier for years.

Mechajammer is a good idea – a retro styled; pixel-art RPG set in a cyberpunk world. Unfortunately, it’s dreary, full of bugs and a disappointment. Especially when you realise the detailed character creation doesn’t really make much difference.

SUMMARY

+ Interesting character creation + Immersive access to computer terminals - Dreary visuals - Poor story - Gameplay bugs - Bad combat mechanics Mechajammer is available now on PC.
James Refelian
When I was seven years old I tried to write a spy novel. It was terrible; in case you wondered, but I’ve always loved stories. Then I got to play videogames and suddenly here were stories that could be told in so many ways, coming to life in front of my eyes. I’ve been hooked ever since and have enjoyed games on pretty much every platform you can imagine. If you love stories too then I hope my reviews help you discover something new. You can always celebrate storytelling with me on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube - @Refelian66.

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