Daemon X Machina may be on the horizon, but mech combat junkies can’t wait that long. Project Nimbus: Complete Edition from GameTomo might give you the fix you’ve been jonesing for. For its budget price point, it provides some satisfying flashes of tight combat, but its weak, repetitive level design holds it back from being a classic.
Fight for everlasting peace
Project Nimbus tries surprisingly hard to tell a good story, by way of cinematics, audio recordings, and even rare bits of anime. Basically, it’s the near future, people are living in the clouds after a war devastated the land, and two large factions are still at war. Interestingly, you get to play as characters on both sides, experiencing a plurality of perspectives and types of giant killer robots. The story still ends up being instantly forgettable, but hey, they tried!
The mech designs range from “pretty cool” to “pretty meh.” It’s nothing that’ll trick you into thinking you’re playing Zone of the Enders, but there’s a nice bit of Gundam flavor in there. Meanwhile, the environments are frequently a little fuzzy or a little muddy, regardless of where you are. They feel a little sparse and lacking in detail as well. But there are at least a couple levels that do look genuinely beautiful – if you stand perfectly still.
Where the visuals really triumph in Project Nimbus is in the frame rate. I never noticed a single hiccup, docked or handheld, amid all the chaos of battle. Although, the game did totally crash once. That was a pretty big hiccup.
Giant robot war never changes
It probably took me a good hour to really understand what the heck I was doing during combat, but once it clicked, it clicked. Project Nimbus has really tight controls, and mastering them is satisfying. You can move and boost fast in any direction you desire pretty much instantaneously, or rotate 360 degrees to keep an enemy in your sights.
Keeping the enemy in front of you is important because your lock-on breaks if they slip away. You pretty regularly have to reset your lock-on, which is tricky but keeps the game from becoming “hold shoot to win.” I got pretty used to it.
Although there are different robots to pilot, their types of attacks ultimately fall into maybe half a dozen basic categories. The skills from one robot translate to another, and there often isn’t a huge difference between them. More individuality between robots would have been nice.
Likewise, the 26-episode story campaign has its highs and lows. The first half of the game feels often all the same, with the object usually being to just kill everything that pops into view. The second half has a little more variety, with several missions being genuinely thrilling. However, overall, Project Nimbus is really lacking in compelling level design. Too many levels are just big, empty spaces (sometimes literally) with waves of enemies suddenly spawning on screen. The enemies themselves usually aren’t distinct either, so everything starts to feel the same after a while.
Project Nimbus has a “Survival” mode where you fight endless waves until you die, and you can pick from many robots to use. However, it only saves one high score, so there’s no incentive to play as anything but the best robots. There is also “Warfront” mode, where you play through randomly generated levels with different objectives, gaining experience to unlock better robots to use in that mode. It’s RPG-esque since you can use resources gained in battle to upgrade the stats of individual robots. It’s nice in theory, but in practice, it just feels like you’re doing the same things over and over again. The game just can’t escape its repetitive nature.
Mech fans will dig Project Nimbus
Project Nimbus: Complete Edition can be a very repetitive experience, but for only $19.99, it’s still an experience fans of the mech combat genre will enjoy. The controls just feel really good, and blowing stuff up is satisfying. And with three difficulty levels, you have a reason to stick around even if Warpath gets too redundant. Consider giving this a shot.
[Disclosure: Nintendo Enthusiast writer Miguel Moran voiced characters in Project Nimbus. He had no influence over the content of this review.]
A review code was provided by the publisher.