Graceful Explosion Machine PlayStation 4 Pro Review

The action is straightforward and combined with Graceful Explosion Machine's smart enemy design and weapons each level like an intense adrenaline rush

By Grayshadow, Posted 08 Aug 2017

Graceful Explosion Machine doesn’t attempt to do anything unique but does an excellent job at delivering a solid 2D shooting experience. Thanks to the clever enemy design, colorful graphics, and a deadly array of weaponry Graceful Explosion Machine carves its own identity. The action is straightforward and combined with Graceful Explosion Machine’s smart enemy design and weapons each level like an intense adrenaline rush.

Graceful Explosion Machine, PlayStation 4 Pro, Review

The story is simple, you’re a lost space traveler looking for a way back home. You must travel to 4 planets and gather 4 crystals to return home while surviving hordes of enemy space ships. The vibrant 2D graphics are based on simple shapes, making everything look clean. The 36 stages are colorful but offer little variety, other than a color swap their terrain and look remain the same.

The gameplay of Graceful Explosion Machine isn’t unique from other games within the same genre like Geometry Wars and Resogun. You’ll eliminate every enemy on screen, progress to the next level, and do the same. Every planet starts with 8 stages with 3 phases before ending with a final Warp stage that has you fighting a massive amount of enemy ships in one long battle. Each stage can take between 5-10 minutes and you have 2 retries per level. If killed you have the option to restart from the same phase with your score restarted or start from the beginning, this encouraged me to complete each stage without dying if I wanted the best score I could get.

Your ship is equipped with enough weapons to deal with every threat. The standard Blaster gun shoots horizontally only, left or right depending on where you’re facing. It can overheat but fortunately, you have other weapons at your disposal. The Dash is one of the most helpful abilities of your ship that has its own charging meter, allowing you to pass through enemy ships but cannot pass oncoming enemy fire. The Energy Sword delivers a 360-degree attack and blocks incoming fire. The Sniper Beam is powerful against enemy shields but lowers your speed when in use. Missiles burn through enemy forces and can be held down for a constant barrage but use a lot of power. Since you cannot shoot vertically you’ll have to rely on your other abilities if enemies get on top or bottom. Each one requires power to use, which is drained when a special weapon is used but replenished by absorbing crystals from fallen enemies.

Graceful Explosion Machine,NoobFeed,Vertex Pop,

Enemies come in a variety of shapes with unique attack patterns. As you progress through the 4 planets new enemies are constantly introduced to prevent the gameplay from going stale. Some will lock onto your position, others will main stationary and fire from afar, and some have shielding. Understanding what enemies can do is essential to maximizing your score. Before enemies appear a warning symbol appears, exposing their position, allowing you to set up an attack before it appears. The helpful map above also provides enemy locations if you find yourself looking for targets.

After you complete the game there are challenge stages. These are the same levels from the campaign with different enemy patterns from the original stages. It's an adequate distraction from the main campaign but it's simply more of the same with little difference from the core stages.

Graceful Explosion Machine takes the 2D shooter formula that many of us are familiar with and remodels it to create an exciting shoot-em-up. The gameplay doesn’t vary but the constant introduction of new enemy types kept me on my toes when entering a new planet. Graceful Explosion Machine is an excellent 2D shooter with clever ideas with a lot of near-death experiences, once you’re hooked you will not want to stop.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Wii U
Publisher(s): Vertex Pop
Developer(s): Vertex Pop
Genres: Action, Indie
Themes: Shooter
Release Date:

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