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Game Info:

KO Mech
Developed By: ektomarch
Published By: ektomarch
Released: July 19, 2018
Available On: Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1 player
Price: $4.99

Thank you ektomarch (Dallas) for the free game code.

In life, if you want to do something, just do it. As long as you try, you can really have no regrets. This statement both describes our developer, ektomarch and the protagonist of our game, KO Mech.

KO Mech features the titular character on his quest to become the best robot boxer in all the land, and the only way he can achieve his dream is to punch everyone and everything that stands in his way. KO Mech is an action game inspired by Treasure’s Bangai-O series of video games. What separates KO Mech from Bangai-O is that while Bangai-O focuses on shooting, KO Mech mostly focuses on punching and high speed tackles.

As KO Mech begins, you notice that the game is multidirectional. The default movement is with W/A/S/D, and aiming is done by the mouse. Left click is to let loose a barrage of punches, while holding left click lets you charge up a “ki blast” to release. The ki blast is tied to a temperature meter that prevents you from overreliance on the ability. If you use it too much, your character will overheat and will be unable to attack. The right click lets you charge forward, causing enemies to knock around like a pinball. If you press both mouse buttons in succession while your spirit meter is filled, your attack becomes an area of effect that deals tons of damage around your character. It’s a fairly simple control scheme, but it does take some time getting used to. With your ki attack and rush attack, KO Mech will attack in the direction that he is facing, which can present some issues as aiming in one direction and moving in another, the character seems to struggle at times at where the aiming wants to be. The game does have controller support, but I recommend sticking with KB+M as it allows a bit more freedom.
KO Mech
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting art style; Great music; Fast-paced gameplay.
Weak Points: Most boss battles are very strange; Collecting trophies can be rather annoying; Can get a bit repetitive in some spots.
Moral Warnings: One instance of a mild swear; Lots and lots of punching.

There are about twenty levels in the game. Each level consists of many types of enemies that will shoot you down with various bullets, missiles, beams, and some enemies even get close up to you to fight on equal terms. Even though there are lots of projectile enemies to come into contact with, your character has the ability to reflect the shots right back at the enemy to deal increased damage, or you can use your ki blast to erase them. The game really starts to shine when multiple enemy types are in an area, as the gameplay becomes fast and frantic. It never feels overwhelming either because you can utilize the terrain to your advantage to take out some particularly tricky enemies. Not all shots can be reflected back so keep that in mind.

The objective of most levels is to find buttons scattered among the level so that you can unlock the path to the boss to lay a smack down on. In most cases, I found the boss design to be rather strange, as contrary to the spirit of the game, the bosses were either too passive to pose a threat, or over too quickly. There were only about a handful of bosses in the game that I enjoyed. In each level, except for the last one, there are trophies to collect. These trophies are key to unlocking two bonus games as well as an alternate model to use. Even though there is a nice variety of enemies, since most of the levels contain very similar objectives, the game can feel repetitive if played for a while. Trophies are collected, but the collected trophies don't disappear from the level, which can make it very tedious when trying to obtain the rest of them.

The style of the game is rather interesting. It is very Japanese inspired, taking inspiration from many aspects of Japan and Japanese culture. It makes sense, as the developer even lives in Japan. The colors are very bright and vibrant, managing to be very pleasing. Scenery and the player character consists of 3D models, while enemies are 2D sprites with white outlines. At first, I thought it made the game look rather cheap, but the more I played it, the more I started to realize that the blend actually complemented each other rather well. The effects of the game are noticeable which is great and helpful to keep track of yourself and enemies attacking you. The scenery also has lots of variety too, taking place in towns, cities, and even in space at certain points. The dialogue is rather humorous; being very tongue-in-cheek and not taking itself seriously, with many of the characters being rather outrageous in personality, and KO Mech being a rather snarky individual.

KO Mech
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

KO Mech’s music and sound design is great. It can range from a calm and soothing level select music, to a high-octane harmony. Futuristic is the tone, as most of the pieces present that future setting and contain lots of digital sounds and instruments and I liked it a lot. Only a few musical pieces exist within the game, but I never got tired of any of them. The sound effects are also crisp and clean, with each sound effect being very distinct from each other.

In terms of morality, there is the act of violence, but most of it is fantasy violence as almost all of the enemies consists of robots and machinery. There is one instance of a mild swear uttered (a*$). Other than those two, everything else is rather tame and safe.

I managed to have a discussion with the developer when he handed out free game codes. It was a game made over the course of many years while he was working full time. The reason he made it is because he just wanted to create a game to bring attention to his favorite game: Bangai-O, as well as make a spiritual successor to the series. He felt that if he could get some people interested in it, then he did a good job. I say he succeeded on that effort, as I am now interested in seeking out and playing Bangai-O. KO Mech is a solid game, filled with heart, and created for a noble cause. For $5, it’s a steal for fans of action games, even with its flaws. In other ways, it really does prove that if there is something in life that you want to achieve, go for it. I find the game, and the man who worked on it, to be a very commendable work of art.

-Cinque Pierre

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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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