Meltdown is a new arcade shooter from Phenomenon Games and Bulkypix, free to play with a thirty mission campaign, randomly generated levels, and online cooperative play for up to four players. It’s very stylish, with a cell shaded look to the visuals, plus a seriously awesome electronic soundtrack. The game is loaded with upgrades to buy and skill points to spend as you level up and rack up lots of cash.
The story and set-up of the game isn’t as important as the action, which pits you against a huge variety of seemingly misanthropic robots of all shapes and sizes. Each enemy introduced brings a different dynamic to gameplay, from the different kinds of stationary turrets, to floating robots with guns, crawler robots that explode, soldier type robots that kamikaze you with their big robot knives, commando soldiers with guns and advanced tactics, and so much more.
Your character possesses a health bar and a recharging over shield, a la Halo, to absorb a limited number of hits between cover points. There is a pretty simple and intuitive cover mechanic, plus a dodge roll and melee attack. Whether you can continuously fire your guns is dependent on whether you find any ammo pick-ups (Unless you have the recharging ammo upgrade) which seems pretty randomized and can land you in hot water from time to time.
Special chips that you find while playing allow you to upgrade your guns in various ways, from power to range and more. You can also pick-up continues if you’d like to continue a mission without restarting. This is where the freemium elements of the game come into play, with coins, continues, and more on sale in the shop, but I haven’t yet felt like they were necessary. However, the farther I get in the game, the more obvious the upcoming grind becomes, so it might feel a bit less fair down the line.
The visual style of the game has been appropriately compared to Borderlands, with cell shaded visuals and loads of numbers popping out of enemies as you shoot them. The soundtrack, if you like electronic music and less offensive sounding wubz, is seriously cool. The game was really buggy on my Motorola Xoom, and froze constantly when I tried to load up missions, but that’s probably device specific. As for the game itself, it’s a lot of fun, with great virtual controls and a fairly well done gesture based control scheme. It might be a bit of a grind the farther you get, but it can be immensely enjoyed as a free game too. Check it out.