It started out innocently enough. A mech game with customization and a lot of action is what I knew when I got the demo for M.A.S.S .Builder. Since then, I have been sitting for almost an hour on the mech editing screen. I am overwhelmed but I am also happy.
A work in progress at Vermillion Digital, M.A.S.S. Builder already put the Thai studio on the map. The team is gathering a steadily growing community with their promise to produce a top quality indie game.
Today, we’ll see how they’re doing so far!
Customize Your Mech For Days
Before I even scratch the surface on the gameplay aspect, I want to discuss the customizing mechanics of this demo. Immediately, I was greeted by my Mechanical Assault Skeleton Suit (M.A.S.S.) and icons everywhere.
Every little aspect of your mech – colors, sizing, and to some extent even stats – can be altered in M.A.S.S. Builder. Without any documentation or tutorial, however, this is extremely overwhelming.
Overwhelming as it may be, I persevered. After a lot of trial and error, and a few rage-quits – simply because I couldn’t understand all the symbols on screen – I managed to create my mech. Then I found another tab; the weapon tab!
This part was even more confusing and it really felt important to know what I was doing. Once again, the lack of a tutorial showed itself here. It ended up with me just going for cool-looking weaponry and hoping for the best as I jumped into my first mission.
Strafing Through The Air
The first mission of M.A.S.S. Builder is a basic tutorial. You’ll learn how to move, strafe and fight (both melee and shooting). After getting used to the control scheme – which is fairly straight forward – I quickly beat the tutorial and got to the main demo mission.
As the level loads, there was a written dialogue which hints of a bigger story-line behind M.A.S.S. Builder, all which feels very welcome. Mindless action is fun and all but action with a purpose is a lot more fun!
According to the plot, the purpose of these big M.A.S.S. mechs is to defend humanity against aliens called Quarks; big black monster-like creatures that sure can take a beating. It may have been because I customized my weaponry wrong, but battling most of my opponents felt like taking down a tank.
Still, the gameplay in M.A.S.S. Builder is hectic, fast paced and a lot to keep an eye on. Monsters comes in large packs and every monster acts a little bit different than the next.
The mission only took me about fifteen minutes but damn were those some rewarding and exhausting minutes. I probably spent most of my time strafing away from my enemies rather than taking them head on but it was nonetheless a fun experience.
Should You Keep An Eye on M.A.S.S. Builder?
As I mentioned before, Vermillion Games’ indie title is still very much a work in progress.The project is currently up on Kickstarter and has already reached its goal, but the campaign lasts for another two weeks and you’re free to pledge here.
Now, am I the target audience for this game? Probably not. That said, I did enjoy myself a lot. If the customization gets a thorough tutorial for newcomers, I am sure this game will fit a lot of people; especially those who like to micro-manage every aspect of your character down to the smallest detail.