What do stock trading, logic equations, and mini-games based on 30 year old puzzle games have to do with repairing giant robots? A lot, apparently. It certainly makes for an interesting combination of elements forming together like a bit of a hap-hazard Voltron. Seems appropriate for a game about repairing mechs, anyway.
Ok, so I know I just threw a lot of crazy images together, but I’ll try to make sense of it all.
Let’s just start with the core game:
It is a mechanic simulator at its base. There are many, many games of this type, and a good portion come from its publisher and their “friends.” I put “friends” in quotes, because it seems like a number of these Chinese publishers have an invested interest in each other, especially considering I even got a loyalty discount for owning other games. Some of you may be familiar with PlayWay as a publisher. Their history of mechanic and repair simulators is long and storied.
If you’ve never played one, it’s fairly self explanatory. You are a mechanic, and your job is to fix things. So in Car Mechanic Simulator you fix cars, in Mech Mechanic Simulator you fix mechs. I think you probably get it at this point.
The basic gameplay loop is as it sounds: pick up an order to repair a mech, complete the tasks required, send it back, get paid, repeat. Fixing and replacing parts is pretty straightforward: use the scanner to diagnose the problem, pull a limb off the suit, put it on a table and begin stripping it down. Like other mechanic simulator games, there are various stations to be unlocked and upgraded which allow you to repair, clean and craft individual components. So you can remove rust, weld, fix electronics and apply a fresh coat of paint… basically all the things you would expect from a game like this.
So far so… the same as every other game like this, right?
It seems like it’s going to be like most other mechanic games until after the first few hours, and you start unlocking stations that aren’t at all similar to other games in this genre.
For example, there is a functioning mini-stock market, featuring rising and falling values of the companies whose mechs you service. As you support the company, its stock grows, and so does your income. If you own stock in a company, and complete a contract from that company, you get extra compensation for the job, so it’s worth buying at least a few shares to boost your income.
While some of the cleaning and repair stations are fairly typical; cleaning off rust, and welding broking parts as one might expect. But the electronics station has you play a minigame to repair components that reminds me a lot of the classic puzzle game, Pipedream.
The calibration station actually requires you to solve a logic puzzle (aka, math), which upon completion, puts you in a virtual environment wherein you “calibrate” the mech by running around and shooting things. Eventually, you unlock stations which allow you to build your own mech, customize it with various paint pallets and decals, and even take it on missions.
There’s a surprising amount of game here for one with such a simple premise.
I wouldn’t call it perfectly executed, however. There are some things which feel a bit, oversight-y. For example, some of the background assets feel a bit cheap. Could be store bought or just default engine assets. The lighting could be more natural, as well. There’s a bit of a feeling that the game didn’t have a lot of artistic direction. The android “helper” is also entirely useless and unfunny. Thankfully, his voice over can be turned off in the options menu.
There are also some minor bugs, and missing textures here and there, although I might excuse them as 1.0 issues which could easily be polished in a patch or two. I even got a reply to my Steam review from the developer, asserting this would be the case.
Despite some of the lack of polish, and the game going off script with stock trading and atypical puzzles, it still manages to work. I have to give this studio credit where it’s due: no one else made a game about fixing mechs, and no one else put a stock market in a mechanic game. So kudos for the creativity, and lots of points for the effort.
I’ll definitely get my money’s worth out of this one.