Daemon X Machina was free last week on the Epic Games store. I was surprised it was being offered so soon after release. However a quick Google search fixed that. The game is almost 2 years old on PC. It’s also a PC port of a Switch game which released in September 2019. I added it to my Steam wishlist in May 2021 which is probably why I thought it was a newer title. DXM offering 4 player co-op was an instant pick up for the squad. If only just to play it once and see what it was all about.
I had booted up the game last Thursday to create a character and try the first mission. For a console port, playing with a controller was not a pleasant experience. The controls feel floaty and I found it hard to aim (even with aim assist) which makes fighting difficult. Fighting controls are important for a mech game since all you’ll be doing is shooting things.
By the time we all got together on Friday, I had touched the game once while CC had completed the whole story…
This time around I opted for keyboard and mouse controls. These are much better but take a bit to get used to. There is no cursor. All of the menus are control through the keyboard, like I said, it’s a console port. Menus aside, the actual flight and fighting controls were much more enjoyable.
Multiplayer is available right after character creation. The tutorial doesn’t even have to be started before you’re allowed to group up. I always love to see that in a multiplayer game.
We had a hell of a time getting connected to each other though. There isn’t a join or invite option in the Epic Launcher, instead someone has to make a room and the others have to go to the in-game friends list to join whoever created the room. We kept getting errors when trying to join rooms this way. We tried creating a public match and had everyone search for the room at the same time. We would either get a random person or no one could connect to the room a all.
After a about 30 minutes of trial and error, we found if SuperToast hosted the room we could all join on him. I have no idea why this is the case, but it worked! A similar issue happened when we tried to play Remnant: From the Ashes together. I’m not sure if it has something to do with launching the game through Epic.
There’s two main types of missions available for multiplayer: Exploration and Missions.
Exploration involves running around a map killing enemies and collecting parts from fallen mechs until the party reaches the boss room. The bosses are big ol’ damage sponges and take some time to down. Afterwards the mission completes, you have a minute to run around and pick up any loot you missed before getting sent back to the hub. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes.
The mission mode, from what we could tell, let’s you team up for some of the story missions/bosses but isn’t a true co-op story mode. CC noted that some of the bosses either don’t appear in the story or have more difficult encounters in multiplayer.
Missions come in two flavors, fight a big, bad, mech killing, robot boss or fight 4 mercenary mechs. We fought the Gunfort, which looks like a cross between the Spike Walker from Trove and the Profit Taker from Warframe. We fought a giant train with guns. I think we might have fought some sort of final boss in a mission called the Nightmare. It was a big, presumably evil/antagonistic, mech that fired all sorts of laser beams at us. He was by far the hardest encounter we had. We had to run it a few times before we took it down.
The mech parts from the Missions are no where near as good as the parts from the Explorations. In Exploration, it seems like the whole loot pool is available to drop. CC was getting multiple pieces of new gear even though he’d already completed the story. Missions, on the other had, award progressively better parts as the difficulty increases, as you would expect. This means running Exploration is the most efficient way to get the best parts for your Mech. The issue is there’s only two exploration missions and they both take place on the same map. At least there’s variety in the Mission locations.
The HUD took up way to much screen real estate. The cross hare overlay took up the majority of the center of the screen…There isn’t a way to scale it down but you can disable individual pieces of it. Having not done the any of the single player, I had no idea what half the stuff on screen was anyways and turned it all off. Not only did it make things easier to see but it also let me take way better screenshots!
Despite the technical hiccups, the weird controls, and the giant sized UI, I had fun. It does what it sets out to do, make big robots fight other big robots. There isn’t much else to it. There always seems to be a new part, weapon, or decal to collect and put on your mech for the next round. I don’t think I’ll be playing this one solo but I think everyone had a good enough time to warrant another session in the future.