Implosion is a sci fi hack ‘n’ slash title from mobile developer Rayark. Originally released on iOS and Android, it slices its way onto the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch, but does its mobile roots translate well on a console?
You find yourself aboard a ship orbiting your conquered home planet where you and your team investigate and fight the alien lifeforms who have recently sent an invasion signal that further threatens humanity. You play as War-Mech series III battle suit pilot Jake Carloway, who controls the battle suit consciously wired to his brain from a control unit on board. His mission isn’t without risk, however, because if his battle suit is destroyed, so is his mind.
The script and its background are quite fleshed out considering that it was originally tailored to a mobile game. The story is mainly presented in conversations between your character and the crew members on the ship. Thankfully, it’s not too dialogue heavy and the artwork that carries the story between levels flow like an animated digital comic book that has a hint of Yoji Shinkawa’s Metal Gear Solid illustrative inspiration. The various wording and jargon used in the game fit in with the clichè of space science fiction where the letter X is massively overused. Some will take to the story and absolutely love it. Others will probably not care for it in the slightest, either way, it does all fit nicely together relevantly setting the mood and rarely outstaying its welcome.
The gameplay itself is a run-of-the-mill hack ‘n’ slash. You use a combination of two buttons to lay out combos onto waves of enemies as you dodge attacks or roll into another crowd to carry on your onslaught. You also have access to more powerful moves that you can customise to your small arsenal of attacks. Your secondary weapon is a gun that you control with the right stick, that you lean towards the direction of your target with a variety of different disposable weapon types located throughout the levels.
Most of the stages are very short which makes it a great little title to kill ten minutes at a time on. They can sometimes feel a little too short but it does make sense why. However, there is a lot of replayability to be found here. Each level has challenges that when met, reward you with a badge. These badges can be then exchanged for various upgrades including another battle suit. There’s also two higher difficulties as well as an added story mode.
The boss battles are fun and have an arcade feel to them. For example, one boss will be fought in the background of the stage Contra style, whilst another is contended with in an open area creating a diverse sense of engagement which creates a satisfying end to each chapter.
The whole thing leads to a Bayonetta-light experience, although the combat is a lot of fun it just doesn’t have the depth of PlatinumGames finest. Not that it needs to be, based on its foundations and budget but it does limit the freedom to be experimental with your aggression as your chains of attacks are limited to only a few variations which can make the gameplay mechanics feel somewhat a bit repetitive at times. It does attempt to deepen things with stat-based collectables that you can acquire to upgrade your overall abilities in the form of ARKS. These perks are either purchased or found within the levels and combining them will result in strengths in some areas whilst being weak in others. There isn’t a lot here to explain in lamens terms what each ability does besides trying to confuse you with clever and made up scientific words that you can’t be bothered pronouncing properly when reading in your head. Instead, you will probably just end up comparing numbers to guess what the best combinations are.
The graphics are ok, you can see straight away that they are crafted for a mobile platform. Whilst your battle suit looks quite good and moves quite smoothly, the enemies themselves can suffer a bit from bland textures with animations that are very limited. Again, a far cry from the silky smooth frames found in bigger budget games of a similar kind but does what it can to get by.
The environments, for the most part, look pretty decent as it cleverly disguises its limitations by keeping the camera at a 3/4 angle throughout most of the stages. There are cracks and holes that are begging to be explored but, unfortunately, are only there for aesthetic purposes. The surroundings can feel a little samey at times even in later levels but still look decent for the most part.
The music and sound really stand out, with some orchestrated numbers and a great boss battle soundtrack. The voice acting is surprisingly better than you would expect, maybe a bit wooden and corny at times but definitely at a higher quality than a lot of games out there.
The controls though are what separates this version to its mobile counterpart. For anyone who has played the mobile version will know that the on-screen controls actually work quite well, but nothing really compares to physical controls, especially for a hack ‘n’ slash game like this. The controls are responsive with added HD Rumble. Nothing too fancy but a welcome addition none the less.
To make complete comparisons to the likes of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry is a little unfair because, as a mobile title, it is an ambitious take on a genre that really shouldn’t work as well as it does on a phone. In regards to the console version, having the benefit of the Nintendo Switch controllers, as well as keeping the screen uncluttered without a virtual control pad, does make this the superior version. Not to mention the battery life you would save on your phone when compared to the low power consumption this title has on the Nintendo Switch.
Whenever I hear about a mobile game being ported to the Nintendo Switch there’s a sense of affliction that it may open up the floodgates to a ton of shovelware that can potentially follow it. Thankfully, Implosion isn’t like an average phone game and it actually makes sense to port it to a console. It may not be as pretty, deep and fluid as the bigger titles it aspires to be, but it definitely did take me by surprise with how much I actually enjoyed it. With its fair price tag and replayability hook, Implosion happens to be a great little bit on the side.