One of the most popular games at the Indie MegaBooth at Pax East was one of the newest games for the Nintendo Switch, Graceful Explosion Machine. Coming from Ontario Canada and studio VertexPop, Graceful Explosion is a nod to Atari’s classic arcade game, Defender, filled with color, multiple weapons, and many enemies to destroy.
My demo had me go to a particular planet deep in an unknown solar system. There wasn’t any narrative given to me, other than that my purpose on the planet was to destroy every last enemy. Immediately, I was brought down onto the planet and into a subterranean level. I had instant callbacks to similar games, such as RESOGUN from Housemarque games and Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender from TIKIPOD Ltd.
Both of the previously mentioned games were greatly inspired by the shooting mechanics established in Atari’s classic game, Defender. In Defender, players had to attack endless waves of alien enemies, while moving across the stage in a sort of endless circle. Unlike other games, they were free to move about this stage, rather than remain on rails. In Defender, the job was to defend the last humans on the planet from being taken and eaten by alien invaders.
Graceful Explosion Machine follows a similar mechanic, but primarily focuses on the shooting, as well as the use of four weapons. The ship was equipped with a blaster, a melee sword, missiles, and a sniper beam. Players have infinite ammo but need to conserve their energy to successfully survive the enemy waves. The sniper beam, and missiles, in particular, are quite powerful but will use quite a lot of energy.
Within the first few moments, I felt unstoppable playing Graceful Explosion machine. As more and more enemies came my way, more fell to the power of my ships weapons. The enemies were numerous, coming in all different shapes and sizes, with different tactics in how to beat them. Despite my overwhelming firepower, the goal is to keep shooting and moving. It wasn’t easy, and the enemy did overwhelm me from time to time.
However, it was quite the thrill, seeing the colorful particle effects of Graceful Explosion Machine. The game has a sharp, vibrant presentation, and seeing the action was like seeing artists paint brush strokes on a painting. The color palette was very distinct and acute, which is important, considering the mayhem occurring on the screen. I could easily discern the bright colors of my sniper beam or the streaking blue of my melee sword. There was a kind of sensation that could be picked up, seeing my weapons strike the bad guys. It’s as if the weapons had a sense of weight to them.
In the last phases of my demo, things became incredibly overwhelming. Enemies filled the screen, and I dashed through the hordes constantly. I focused on my melee and blaster weapons more than my missiles, as I figured that it was best to use the basic weapon and keep firing, more than losing my energy all at once, due to the sniper beam or missiles. Things became incredibly white knuckle as I tried consistently to stay alive. Just when I thought I would die, I completed the final wave of the planet, liberating it from the alien bad guys and becoming victorious. With that, my demo was over.
Graceful Explosion machine is a wonderful action arcade experience, filled with color, challenge, and a great amount of fun. The game is now available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.