Daemon X Machina Review (Switch, 2019)

A welcome surprise. Daemon X Machina is straight to the point. The player begins a mission and, after a short story sequence, gets right into the action. No open world with side missions that have them spend hours running back and forth, no need for counterintuitive fast-travel implementations.

Since it's been a while since I played this one I'm going to keep myself short and concise with this review, just mentioning what I remember to have stuck out to me.

The Good

Tutorials are short text hints with no wasteful flavor text. Although the shading on the actual characters looks a bit awkward and takes some getting used to, Daemon X Machina overally manages to produce good visuals despite being developed for the lacking hardware of the Switch (for today's standards). The soundtrack is a genuine treat. Story and writing are quite corny, but I still enjoyed them along with the creative sci-fi setting. There's a wide variety of parts for players to to customize their mechs with, both in terms of performance as well as visuals.
In terms of gameplay Daemon X Machina is surprisingly accessible. The only other mecha action game I had played in my life was Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner way back in the earlys 2000s but I was still able to perform well enough to blast through the story missions quite easily. Some missions are just right in terms of challenge in difficulty, although many are too easy and the last boss can be quite frustrating. Or at least that's how it was for me. The difficulty is highly dynamic and depends on one's mech setup and playstyle. See The Bad below.
Another aspect that stuck out to me positively is that the game features co-op and player versus player online modes. Players online can even communicate by writing and aren't strictly limited to a set of predefined sentences.

The Bad

Randomized loot - if you're unlucky you might have to grind for hours to get the parts you need for your mech setup. Lots of boni are locked behind playing a lot of online missions. No local multiplayer on the same console. For its simple gameplay Daemon X Machina overstays its welcome just a tad too much for my taste. It got old after a couple dozen hours, which I didn't mind, but I didn't like that I had to play it a lot more than that to finalize my mech configuration.
The difficulty balance is actually a bit whacky. Figuring out a good setup in terms of performance is not easy for a beginner and the overall difficulty can range from ridiculously hard to laughingly easy depending on the mech setup.
You can store mech setups and switch them around anytime. However you have to manually keep track of what parts are used in your setups and be careful not to sell them. Inventory management is hell as you'll eventually end up endlessly scrolling through parts you're keeping for the collection.

My Conclusion

While Daemon X Machina is a lot of fun, it can get pretty repetitive unless you keep switching up your setup. Personally I loved its over-the-top story and action along with the setting and the soundtrack. Some may find the game too corny however. As much as I liked the game, I do wish it didn't require hours of grinding to pick up parts and that it had better inventory management.