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Game Info:

Machine Gun Train Run
Developed By: Party Robot Studio
Published By: Party Robot Studio
Released: February 26, 2016
Available On: Windows
Genre: Action, Indie, Shooter
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1-2, (Multiplayer offline only)
This game was reviewed after the 1.0.8 update
Price: $. 99 on Steam

Thank you Party Robot Studio for sending us your game!

Machine Gun Train Run's story is akin to your basic, run of the mill Chuck Norris movie. Gun toting Bad guys are wreaking havoc, so it's up to you and your two Arnold Schwarzenegger'd he-men to pump 'em full of lead. It's a simple but serviceable goal for Party Robots Studio's line 'em up, shoot 'em up game. Released in 2016, this one seeks a rip-roaring good time. Guys, I think this one's a'-call'n your name.

Machine Gun Train Run's structure consists chiefly of four levels centered around killing anything you see while riding a speeding train. If you know what guns do and that getting shot hurts, then congrats. You've already got a leg up on how to win. Earn points by landing your hits and don't get hit yourself. You've got three hearts in your life counter, but thankfully, you have unlimited lives and will respawn at your last checkpoint if you die. Unfortunately, you score drops back to zero whenever you do. You'll come across mini bosses on occasion, but you'll earn those checkpoints for beating them. Reach the locomotive's end, and the big bad boss will make the last effort to snuff you out. Obviously, this setup isn't unique in the slightest, but it provides what's needed for this game, which is fine by me.

Though basic in concept, the developers did put effort in keeping the gameplay fun. They offer two buff avatars to choose from, and each can get different upgrades. These limited power-ups can range from scatter shots to plasma bombs to even a flamethrower. Sure, they don't stack up to the zany awesomeness that is Ratchet and Clank's arsenal, but they're still satisfyingly effective. Over time, you may find you prefer one character's upgrades over the other's. Certain beef ups work well in differing situations, and that subtle strategic value was a good idea on the creator's part. Skill-wise, gameplay is pretty well balanced. On the easy end, your enemies are pathetically predictable. Their AI is nothing short of robotic. I figured out the final boss's shtick and hilariously beaned him because he refused to turn around as I shot his back into Swiss Cheese. However, as ineffectual as these twerps are as individuals, they can be a pain in teams. Trust me. It's best to annihilate threats as you go. If you rush ahead, you're gonna get crowded. I'm glad for that, because it saved the game from getting boring. The easy parts and hard parts do give it some sense of balance. This game could have been a lot better given more polishing, but it could have gone a lot worse.

Machine Gun Train Run
Highlights:

Strong Points: Rapid-fire fun, Macho-man hilarity
Weak Points: Extremely basic designs, Avatar can be too sluggish
Moral Warnings: Cartoony blood spatters, Some crude language, Mentions of alcohol

For me, the controls were hit and miss. I had no controller, so I played using my keyboard. You move around and aim your gun by using the arrow keys, but you can only shoot your trusty 'Tommy' so long as you're holding 'X'. However, if you want to aim without moving around you must remember to hold 'C'. This tidbit about the control scheme often threw me for a loop. I died multiple times because I mixed up the buttons, but it's really nothing some time and practice couldn't fix. Unfortunately, my biggest gripe is that while your gun wielding is fast and responsive, you yourself are not. Should you encounter rapid fire or a shockwave stomping mech, your best hope is to jump with 'Z', but even then your lethargic hero is laughably slow. Unless you can predict certain attacks way ahead of time, you're likely not escaping without a scratch. Now, this issue didn't break the game for me. It just hampered it a little, but I would have really appreciated better mobility. (Perhaps a duck button, thank you very much?)

If I had to pick out the weakest thing in Machine Gun Train Run, it's the visuals. It's not bad, certainly not an abomination of art, but it's generic. You've got your faceless minions, your train, your backgrounds, but there's nothing special about them. I suppose some of the machinery was a little imaginative, but that's it. It doesn't help that the developers didn't work up a lot of variances either. Sure, the scenery changes between levels as do the train designs, but other than that, diversity comes solely through color swaps - a smart answer for '80s limited tech but cheap looking by modern standards. On the positive side, the designs are crisp, and though they obstructed my vision a few times, the explosions are well animated. I can't say much for the music either, because the designers used stock music that wasn't custom composed for the game. Save for the main menu's repetitious two measures of electric guitar, the tunes were quite catchy, but ultimately, the creative team only gets credit for having good taste. However, what does work in the presentation's favor is the atmosphere. Machine Gun Train Run knows it looks like a product of macho man tropes and wears its label with steroid pride. From its own premise, to the over the top gruff voice that announces handshakes, victories, and pausing (I laughed hard on that one), this game doesn't care if it's corny. It's so unapologetic about it; it's hilarious. I guess in retrospect, the unimpressive bits at least make up a good whole. (As for glitches, if you have the bare minimum requirements, you may encounter jumpiness at the least or complete crashes at the worst. Otherwise, you'll be fine.)

Machine Gun Train Run
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 83%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 6.5/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

This game also includes two extra modes: Endurance and Speedrun. The first of these sees you shoot at shapes while surviving as long as you can. The difficulty you choose determines how fast the targets float in, and I consider this a nice feature. Speedrun, which you unlock by beating the main campaign, is also straightforward. Try to beat all levels as fast as possible with as few deaths as possible. The kicker about this though, if you remember what I said earlier, is that rushing ahead will allow the enemies to gang up on you. So yeah. Doing great at Speedrun is hard, but hey, offering a true challenge to whoever wants it is a great way to keep a game alive after the initial play through. I'd also like to mention that Machine Gun Train Run includes a bonus section to display the developer's concept art. It's always fun peeking behind the scenes. [There is a multiplayer mode, but I couldn't try it due to my lack of controllers.]

Okay. Time for the nitty gritty. If you're still reading this after all my talk about bullet pumping dudes, there are a few more ethical no-no's you should know. Firstly, the violence in this Bad guy hunting season leans upon the lighter variety for the most part. However, there are some enemies that will go out in a cartoony blood spray. It's nothing huge. The red doesn't stain or linger, but it does happen here. Secondly, one mission has you rescuing tankards full of beer, and lastly, you might have noticed I hadn't yet called the antagonists by name. That's because they're un-callable. The terrorist fodder you're mowing down refer to themselves as A.*.*.H.A.T.. Thus, it's no surprise that you're gonna be reading that little number several times. To add further language insult to injury, S****y Jim is your arch nemesis. Yeah, real classy right? I know some joke names fall flat, but those gags shouldn't even be running.

If it wasn't clear already, Machine Gun Train Run is exactly what it says on the tin. There's a train with missile launching brutes, and you get to be the dude with the bigger paddle: have fun. So parents, what you read is what you get. To the game's credit, I did indeed have fun with it. It's he-man silliness had me grinning, and its gameplay had the fundamentals to keep me entertained for short sessions. Now, it's clear that Party Robot Studio didn't reinvent the wheel in this shooter. It sure didn't have any 'wow' factor to it, but you know what? It was still enjoyable, and that's how a game should be. I definitely know lots of guys would be eating this thing up. However, I'm not enjoying myself too much to be ignorant of its moral issues. To be frank, I don't think kids should be trying it. If you're older, hungry to pop some cartridges, and possess the fortitude to shrug off inappropriate names, this arcade style, Rambo romp may be for you. Just be sure to handle it like any other gun - with care.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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