Game Title: MechaNika
Company: Mango Protocol
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 5 – 7 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 136 MB
In the media world, dark humor is in a lot of deceptive material, namely cartoons. When you scroll through Netflix and see a cartoon, it’s not uncommon to see one that is all about sex, abuse, and other dark tones while throwing humor into the mix.
Video games, on the other hand, haven’t made quite that many outside of the South Park RPGs. When you see an adorable little cartoony 7-year old girl that doesn’t like the world around her, you’d never expect that she would be the star of one of the most adult-themed games on handhelds to date.
But that’s enough talk, let’s dive right in. This is my review of Psychotic’s Mecha Nika for the Nintendo Switch!
Mecha Nika is centered around a young girl named Nika who hates the world. Her teacher ignores her and spends all of her teaching time playing on her phone, her mom gets constantly brainwashed in front of the TV and never signs her up for the classes she wants, and the only real friend she has is Agatha (the very same from Psychotic’s Agatha Knife), whom has an affinity for worshiping pig gods and sending all her cute animal friends where they’ll be safe, chopped up in little pieces and gulped down into her tummy.
One day, Nika just can’t take the world anymore and plans to destroy it with a giant mechanical machine of her own making. To do that, however, she needs parts, so she sets out on an adventure through time to collect parts and create her doomsday machine.
As you may have guessed, this is a very dark game with a lot of adult humor and some very shocking turns of events that you would never see in any other game series designed like a cartoon. But that’s part of what makes this game so unique. I really liked how the story was constantly surprising and shocking me with events, along with a mountain of built-in references to all things video games and media.
Mecha Nika is a point-and-click adventure game with puzzle elements thrown into the mix. Throughout every area of the game, you’ll be navigating Nika around rooms and using a pointer to interact with people and objects to get items, dialogue, or moving to new areas.
The way progression works is simple. You’ve got a list of components needed to create MechaNika once you finish the tutorial area and you’ve gotta find all of them to lead you to the game’s ending. Finding them is a matter of walking around the town and various homes to get them, either by picking them up or getting them from NPCs.
This leads the game to be a bit of a puzzle game as there are loads of items you can gather into your inventory and they are used with a certain place or a certain character. For example, you might get a certain item from your grandma that doesn’t work as a component on its own until you take it over to Agatha’s house and have her slice it up into what you need. There are also certain events to get components that don’t open up until later.
On top of that, not every interaction is obvious, as some require you to get out items and interact. It’s a game of exploration and thinking. Of course, if you have trouble, there’s an option in the backpack menu where Nika drinks a suspicious drink from a flask to give you a hint on what you need to do next.
The only problem is that it only works in a room where there’s more to do. So, instead of pointing you where you need to go, you need to figure out where you need to go before it gives you a hint on where you need to go. I found this quite frustrating towards the end as it required me to just go to every room of every house and every building on the street until I finally got it to respond and tell me what I needed to do.
This all does sound a bit confusing, but once you learn how to interact with stuff and walk around town, it becomes pretty simple. It is also because of that simplicity that the game isn’t terribly long. I finished my first run of the game in a little over 3 hours, which isn’t bad for the price tag of $5.99. May not seem like a lot to some, but a short game with a low price balances itself out quite nicely.
Controlling this game is really nice. This game was originally a Mobile and PC game. As such, it can be controlled both with button controls or touch controls. Being a point-and-click game, I found it extremely comfortable and convenient to use touch controls as opposed to moving the cursor around with an Analog Stick.
With button controls, you can move Nika around with the Left Analog Stick and move the cursor with the Right Analog Stick. You can use the ZL button to run and ZR trigger to show interactions for anything the cursor is hovering over. Then we get to the face buttons. A and X let you interact with objects and NPCs while Y pulls up the menu and B cancels options.
And that’s all there is to it. The L and R triggers don’t do anything, and the + and – buttons just serve to pull up the control scheme.
Visually, the game looks very cartoony. The design does look pretty crisp and right in line with the developer’s style from Agatha Knife. The performance is also solid, as the game never froze on me or dropped frames.
I expected to get quite a bit of Battery Time out of this game, and we definitely did. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 46 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 16 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 48 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 7 hours, 12 minutes
This throws MechaNika into the list of games that have more battery life than the entire game is long.
In conclusion, MechaNika is a cute little adventure game filled with references and comedy. On the downside, its hint mechanic isn’t quite as expansive as I would’ve liked. However, if you like dark humor and point-and-click adventure games, you can’t go wrong with this short title and equally short price-point.
Final Score: 8.5/10