"The game looks fantastic, with smooth animations and wonderfully presented color palates that contribute to a delightfully executed aesthetic that was pleasing overall."
Mechanic Escape is an intriguing upcoming indie title by French developer Slak Games. It’s an uncompromising two-dimensional platformer that borrows elements from some of modern platforming’s more well-known sweethearts, and incorporates its own distinct style offering up a genuinely good gaming experience that, while not groundbreaking, was just different enough to keep me intrigued. I spent about 40 minutes blazing through the game’s 10 demo levels, collecting all the pickups, and going back to attempt my own speed runs. The featured levels were divided to show off four of the game’s world types, each with its own distinct atmosphere and design. The game looks fantastic, with smooth animations and wonderfully presented color palates that contribute to a delightfully executed aesthetic that was pleasing overall. The one serious qualm I had during my entire experience was an issue of control. The game occasionally suffered from hiccups in that department due to floaty jumping mechanics and sometimes unresponsive level triggers that often left me overcompensating, resulting in a few too many frustrating deaths.
Mechanic Escape features the antics of a giant monitor with robotic hands and feet named, Mech. Mech emotes, sometimes humorously, through the monitor via widening eyes, gaping mouths, and frenzied static. Like many platformers that have come before it, there’s not much in terms of story aside from the fact that Mech is on a mission to save his friends. His adventures have him racing through levels as enemies chase, fire weapons, and generally just try to destroy him as he jumps, dodges and falls through hazardous environments. Lazers, beams, rays, explosives, and an array of sharp objects stand between Mech and his precariously placed friends. Needless to say, it’s not necessarily an easy endeavor, and the game’s demo offered up plenty of challenge through its smart level design and hazard placement, often dangling collectables in hard to reach areas, encouraging players to explore all of the many levels’ branching paths.
"The over-exaggerated animations, and vibrant color schemes add a lot of life to Mechanic Escape’s presentation."
As previously mentioned, the game is uncompromising and more than willing to punish players for any errors they’ve made. If I so much as touched a hazard, Mech was instantly evaporated and sent back to the beginning of the stage. This lead to a lot of trial and error, especially when being chased by some of the game’s more prevalent baddies, but it also succeeds in delivering bite-sized jolts of self-satisfaction, especially when I was finally able to clear the levels up to 100%.
The over-exaggerated animations, and vibrant color schemes add a lot of life to Mechanic Escape’s presentation. The sprites are smooth and beautifully rendered, running without issue on my rig. The game definitely has personality, but I think it could benefit from a bit more variance in terms of collectables and enemy types. Currently collectables are limited to several types of monitors that are supposed to be Mech’s friends. There’s not much of a noticeable difference between any of these collectables except in terms of size. If you’re afforded the opportunity to take a break and pause during the game you’ll be able to see there are various subtleties that exist differentiating them from one another, but given the game’s fast paced nature I predict that most of these details will be lost to the average player as they whiz on by.
"As of right now controls are fluid, albeit a bit too floaty for my taste. It doesn’t feel like there’s enough weight to Mech’s jumps, and this lead to multiple issues of overcompensation on my part."
Most levels have unique aspects to them as well, changing up standard platforming gameplay with inventive objects that, for the most part, helped me guide Mech to safety when the going got tough. Cannons, wires, poles and other modes of transportation exist to rocket Mech through levels, keeping up the game’s fast paced atmosphere and offering a variety of options for navigating levels. Though, as fun as these elements may be, I encountered a few instances, mainly with the cannons, where I was pressing the button for them to shoot me out to no avail, leading to some infuriating deaths. In a game where milliseconds can make all the difference between life and death I think it’s fair to say that this isn’t a small issue and needs to be addressed before release.
As of right now controls are fluid, albeit a bit too floaty for my taste. It doesn’t feel like there’s enough weight to Mech’s jumps, and this lead to multiple issues of overcompensation on my part. Granted, after about 10 minutes with the game I began to get used to this and found myself able to deal with it more easily. This might have been a personal issue, but I’m much more used to games with platforming mechanics that feel a bit more heavy and precise, like Super Meat Boy.
Overall Mechanic Escape’s preview was enjoyable, but I fear there may not be enough time to correct some of the more apparent issues before its April 15th release date. Even if they aren’t, it was still an interesting experience that I look forward to enjoying more of in just a couple weeks when it’s released in full on Steam.
Preview by: Palmer Sturman | Previewed on: PC