To my mind, there is one indisputable fact about Daemon X Machina – it looks fantastic. The living manga designs, technicolour-skied maps, glorious cartoon explosions, and endlessly stylish animations are beautiful, made more impressive because they’re contained on the relatively underpowered Switch. But they’re draped like a costume over the body of a game that pays homage to the golden age of Japanese mech shooters, particularly early Armored Core (whose producer, Kenichiro Tsukuda, has moved to publisher Marvelous and helms this project). At its best, Daemon X Machina is an exercise in rose-tinted nostalgia, a gorgeous update to a much-missed genre. But at its worst, those good looks feel less like a costume and more like a mask for a game that isn’t quite as well thought-out as it appears.
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