Game: Volta – X
Genre: Action, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC)
Developer|Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment America
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone 10+
Price: UK £17.99 | EU €19,99 | US $19.99
Release Date: August 12th 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to GungHo America
Animals and Giant Mechs
I’ve mentioned before how I was quite a big fan of Voltron when I was younger. A show about young heroes piloting a giant mech and taking on giant monsters to save the day for another Saturday. Strangely despite its high praise, I was not so fond of Pacific Rim a film series about giant mechs battling giant monsters. What can I say I like the classics plus you can’t beat those cheesy one-liners. I’m also quite the animal lover so I often have soft spots for games which star animal-based characters. Particularly if they have otters. Volta – X, on the surface, feels like a match made in heaven. Big mechs – fighting other mechs- piloted by animals sounds like a good formula to me. Let us check it out.
Get the Band Together
Volta – X is about a group of animals Ian (Fox), Sheldon (Elephant), and Benny the monkey piloting a mech called a Volta. You then do the only sensible thing you can do in this universe with other giant mechs and that is battle each other to become the best. The graphical style is very unique, the game feels like an animated painting. The characters are charming to look at and each has their own unique personality that you’ll come to know as you progress through the missions. There are many occasions between battles where the characters will come together for a little chat building on their own back story and making them more alluring. Of course, it won’t be too long into the game before you’ll meet more animal pals. Usually requiring you to defeat them in battle first because of course that’s how we do things in video games. I guess having a thumb war and being done with it is out the question? Jokes aside I loved the designs of the characters and it was tough to choose which three to take into the Volta to do battle.
Battle it Out
The main event of the game is doing battle with the Volta. As the player, you have access to various body parts of your mech most of which can fire weapons at your opponents like rockets or satisfying melee strikes. Your crew of three lovable animal pals occupies a certain region of the mech e.g. head, torso, arm, etc. If they happen to occupy the station of the weapon you activate they do more damage. Though their presence in said limb is not essential to use it. All this is displayed at the bottom of the screen. When you activate these abilities you can watch the action unfold at the top of the screen. Though often I was more concerned with my mech internals then whether I was winning or not.
You can move your animal pals around as the match plays out as well as providing damage boosts you can also use them to repair damaged limbs. Most crew members carry certain perks for example Sheldon the elephant is pretty good as putting out fires. Benny does extra damage with melee so it makes sense to know your crew well and match them to the correct stations. You need to be careful though as if the enemy damages the limb your animal friend occupies it can be knocked out. As you can see the game becomes this juggling act of managing your crew while remembering to attack your enemy.
The goal is to defeat the opposing mech. Though rarely did I actually knock my opponent out. Most battles are timed and the game usually awards the win to the mech that has achieved the most damage. You can gain an instant win by taking off your opponent’s head but I often didn’t succeed with this as much as my opponent did.
Initially, I found these battles incredibly confusing. While the game does provide tutorials as you progress it’s quite overwhelming to jump in and manage all the crazy action. Fortunately defeat doesn’t come at a big cost. In fact, when I lost a match I still seemed to make progress in some missions as well as still earning gold and experience points.
When you’re not mech battling you can manage your headquarters turning the game into an interesting management sim that acts as a nice break away from the mech battling. You need to manage your crew, keeping them happy by building rooms for them to rest as well as generator rooms to provide enough power. You can build workshops to upgrade equipment pieces linking everything back to the main mech battles.
Absolutely everything can be upgraded from the mechs themselves to the individual parts and the crew. There’s lots of customization at play. You get to pilot different mechs, choose the weapons and parts, and overall just create your dream mech and animal crew. It’s easy to see how you could end up sinking hundreds of hours into this game.
Volta – X almost fully won me over if it wasn’t for one huge misstep with its design and its a rather big one.
The Online Issue
For some reason, I don’t understand why Volta – X requires a online connection to play. The game does feature the ability for you to take on other players but all missions offer an offline mission which was how I enjoyed the game. Why I need to be connected to the internet to enjoy this game baffles me. I was only able to play this game in the confines of the WiFi reception in my own home which unfortunately is quite temperamental and not always a solid connection. When I’m out and about taking a break from checking on the health of sheep this game will not load. You’re locked out. An online connection is required at all times making playing this in handheld mode almost pointless. Not only that, my mind wanders to the far future when the developers decide to shut down the servers of this game and it basically means you have no access to this product. I was not happy with this revelation and hope its remedied with a patch.
The Mech Package
Volta – X is an entertaining mech-based game with a clever mix of mech battling to management sim wrapped up in a gorgeous art style. The required online connection is stupid and really soured what is a great package here for me as someone that doesn’t always game in a WiFi spot. However, if this isn’t an issue for you there’s a highly entertaining experience here worth sinking many hours into.
Final Verdict: I liked it!