Developer: Kamina Dimension
Publisher: First Press Games
Genre: Adventure, Action, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 29/Sept/2020
A code was provided for review purposes
After a successful kick-starter campaign, Kamina Dimension developed the action-adventure title MindSeize. The game plays like a standard Metroidvania, with upgrades distributed throughout the different environments. Your character, M.C. Fox, is a crippled private investigator. Despite this handicap, he can send his mind into a mech, allowing him to combat opponents. This mech begins with both a melee weapon and a machine gun, and as the game progresses, you unlock new weapons and abilities that increase your capabilities.
How did this happen?
MindSeize begins with images showing M.C. Fox losing his daughter to a machine, establishing the context of the game. The objective is to reclaim your daughter from “The Ascended”, an organization of robots who wish to perfect society by irradicating humans. While the story has many key elements, there is much to be desired from the plot, and some lines feel lifeless.
While there are many plotlines in the game to add depth to the story, such as a limit on the amount of time M.C. Fox can spend in his mech, they seem to fall flat and do not feel meaningful. Despite this fear being discussed multiple times, there is never a time where the player feels they are in immediate danger of losing their mind, or that they are genuinely risking anything to save their daughter.
M.C. Fox travels through five different planets to reunite with his daughter. At the beginning of the game, he feels slow, and manoeuvring with him is a challenge. As the game progresses, however, you unlock new movement options such as a dash, wall jump and even increase the number jumps M.C. Fox can perform before landing. The additional movement options made it significantly more pleasurable to navigate the maps.
Unlocking these upgrades is rewarding, and can be done through purchasing them, finding them in the map, or defeating a boss. While most of the hidden upgrades are simple to find, many are hidden behind walls that the player must shoot at to uncover. While mundane, this was not unfair. However, one of the powerups was only discoverable by using a grenade on a seemingly regular wall. The wall would not break with the regular melee rifle. Discovering this collectable was frustrating and felt unfair to the player. Despite this, the gameplay is pleasant, and unlocking new improvements brings joy.
Exploration is Encouraged
In addition to discovering ways to improve the mech, exploring the planets will uncover places to save your game, and fast travel stations, such as airlifts and teleporters. The save points are crucial, as they save the progress you made to the map, and upgrades discovered. Another unique aspect of this game is that the mech can hold Nanobots, a consumable item that can heal you in a pinch. At the save stations and airlifts, you can purchase them with the currency dropped by enemies. The inclusion of this helps less skilled players have a chance at completing the game without making the game too easy for more skilled players.
Not only do you have to navigate through a platforming gauntlet, but there are enemies scattered throughout the map. With your melee weapon, ranged weapon and other unlockable weapons such as grenades and the offensive capabilities of your drone, M.C. Fox is always well equipped. One thing I really enjoyed about the gameplay is that it is not solely focused on the ranged weapons. Not only are melee weapons strong, but an upgrade grants health for each enemy killed with a melee weapon, further incentivizing their use. The diversity of weapons and strategies adds depth to the gameplay and helps keep the player engaged.
Throughout the five planets, M.C. Fox fights a diverse cast of enemies, ranging from robot soldiers to a mushroom lizard. The enemy design is excellent, and enemies feel vastly different from each other. Traversing through each new level and discovering new enemies is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game, and most of the enemies are excellently designed.
The game also consists of many bosses, many of which are also enjoyable to face. The boss fights are the most challenging part of the game, and learning their patterns is required to persevere. Most of the bosses are placed directly after a save point, making for easy retries. While many of the bosses are challenging, some bosses almost seem unfair. For example, Maximum Mimir spawns so many enemies, at times, it feels impossible to evade damage. Additionally, the visual indicators are often subtle and take multiple attempts to master.
The final boss was my favourite boss, as learning her patterns were fun, and the indication she shows with the waving of her arm helped me predict her patterns. Becoming an expert at these bosses proved useful in the boss rush mode as well as the story mode. While some of the bosses were difficult and some felt unfair, the bosses were enjoyable to face and offered a welcome break from the exploring done on the planets.
The music was expertly composed by Adam Al-Sawad. The music helped set the tone of the game extremely well, and the music stood out to me as incredible. It helped set the tone of the environments, and in some areas, the music was removed entirely, depicting how ominous the environment would be. The sound effects also are to a good standard, making the weapons feel strong and the destruction of enemies satisfying. Overall, the sound design was excellent and supplements the gameplay very well.
In addition to the impressive sound design, the visuals are stunning. The sixteen-bit pixel art was the thing that captivated me most before deciding to play this game, and it did not disappoint. The worlds are vast, and each one looks different than the last. Gorgeous landscapes and skies are on display, as well as a diverse cast of enemies. I think the boss design was by far the best. Each boss is completely unique, and the varying boss designs keep the player engaged throughout the entire journey. The art style and visuals used in MindSeize greatly improve the quality of the game and add to the player’s enjoyment.
While the art design in-game was phenomenal, the design of the UI and menus were quite challenging to read. Considering how excellent the visual design was, I was even more disappointed when I had to get out of my seat to read the text on the screen. The font was incredibly small, and the font choice also made it challenging to read, as pixels bled together. Moreover, exiting to the menu was a challenging task because the developers coloured over the buttons that the player needs to press with colours that are not on the controller. They really should consider increasing the size of the font on the text for the menus and choosing a font that is simpler to read.
The game runs very smoothly, and I did not experience any frames dropping. There were some minor issues I encountered. Fairly infrequently, my character would freeze in place. I would mash the joystick and within a couple of seconds, my character would return to normal. I cannot explain why this occurs, but it did not happen frequently enough to severely hinder my gameplay. Despite that error and a couple of minor errors where my jump would jump to a height that should be impossible, the game plays smoothly. I would say overall the game performed well, but there are some small errors to be conscious of.
MindSeize costs £17.99 and offers an average story with good gameplay, solid visuals, and excellent sound design. There are some bugs to be worked out, and some things that felt unfair to the player. The effort from the team really shines through, but that price point is a little too steep for me to highly recommend this game. There is some fun to be had in MindSeize, and I would say I enjoyed my experience playing it.
You can get your copy of MindSeize from the Nintendo eShop right here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.