It’s easy to see why Housemarque called upon the talents of Eugene Jarvis to co-create PSN hit Nex Machina. The celebrated game designer is responsible for some of the greatest arcade twin-stick shooters of all-time, including Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV.
Both are a clear influence on Circuit Breakers. Essentially, it’s an amalgamation of the two, featuring small, boxy, predominately grey arenas filled to the brim with rampaging robots ripe for wrecking.
Sadly, developer Triverske seems to have overlooked what made these games great. It doesn’t have the eccentric sense of humour or over the top violence of Smash TV, and it lacks Robotron’s ability to send players into a mesmeric trance. All told, it’s a pretty straightforward score chaser.
It does have some merits though. There’s a choice of characters, each of which has their own weapon with varying ranges, spreads, and firing speeds. They also have their own challenge cards to work through. Ticking a few impromptu challenges off the list is mildly rewarding, bringing you one step closer to 100% completion.
While spending time with each character is diverting at first, chances are you’ll find yourself sticking with just one or two. The machine gun and mini-gun carriers tear through enemies with much more haste than, say, Samson with his slow firing missile launcher. Tay’s laser only fires in straight lines, while Shelby’s shotgun lacks punch. Pun-tastic character names, we’re sure you’ll agree.