Nex Machina offers fast action, projectiles covering the screen and hundreds of robots to destroy. Without worrying too much about backstory, this is pure arcade action.
The collaboration between Housemarque and Eugene Jarvis carries experience with titles such as Resogun from the former and Robotron and Smash TV from the latter.
Sitting in line with the arcade stance, you won't find much of a storyline. The world has been over-run by hordes of robots who are hell-bent on destroying everything including innocent humans. It's your job to save the humans that you can, while destroying the primary enemies in order to move onto the next area.
There are five worlds, each split between a number of sections. You can tackle the 'Arcade' mode which carries you through each world.
Like Resogun you can increase your score by saving humans and finding secrets which are fairly straightforward if you shoot everything in sight. Dependent on your difficulty level, you'll have five, ten, 99 or unlimited continues. With a little practise you'll clear easier difficulties with only five or ten continues, but with more and more enemies and a higher speed you'll find Veteran and Master difficulties a real challenge.
Attacks on your right thumb-stick vary in range and spread as you collect power-ups, and you'll need to get to grips with the dash (left shoulder button) and special (right shoulder button). Power-ups affect these, adding a triple-dash or even an explosion as you come out of a dash which is not only great for clearing deadly energy beams, but also clearing enemies around your destination.
The special weapons are even more important as latter difficulties will require careful management of which special you're carrying and when to use it. My favourite was the powerful laser for cutting through large numbers of enemies.
The lack of any form of story does take the edge off the initial play-through, but even after completion there's more than enough reasons to play again and again.
Just a quick glance at the leaderboards will show scores ten-fold what you'll achieve first time through. Replays open up a new dimension of the game as you start to realise there's far more to do.
You'll also find Arena mode which gives you various challenges for the first three worlds.
There's also local co-operative play, which is a great addition. However, it's a shame there's no online co-op.
Graphically Nex Machina is one of the best looking top-down shooters of recent times, making the most of High Dynamic Range (HDR).
It's a pleasure to see in action and transition effects between levels surpass most of what we've seen before.
Far too many games fall foul of packing too much onto the screen at once without keeping it simple, but Nex Machinais is not among them.
Detailed levels, a range of ever-tougher enemies and enough bedlam on screen mean you'll regularly surprise yourself with quick movement and well-timed escapes with your dash and special attacks.
The sound complements the action well with a suitable soundtrack that does feel a little repetitive but does't detract from the overall enjoyment.
However, the only voices are notifications such as saving humans. Especially through the Dual Shock 4, I found these muffled and unclear.
Nex Machina is an arcade game of high pedigree. People will find it repetitive after the first few evenings, but it's incredible fun and those looking for a challenge will find that the higher difficulties, arena mode and the online leaderboards will provide dozens of hours beyond your first play-through.
Short of any real story, Nex Machina is all-out arcade action, providing a great range of challenges, and game-play that feels accessible and rewarding. It is highly recommended to any shoot-em-up fans.