This past weekend, the folks over at Bandai Namco held a closed beta test for the upcoming Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme vs. Maxiboost On. It’s currently in Japanese arcades but, barring any issues due to current world health events, it will be making its way to PS4 later this summer.

The game is a 2-on-2 arcade brawler featuring the Gundam IP, so expect to use numerous explosives and heavy artillery weapons in addition to melee attacks. Fans of the series will have plenty of choices – players can select from a whopping 185 different mech suits, spanning 36 different Gundam series! The choices can feel a little overwhelming for anyone not familiar with the various entries, but fortunately there’s a random option to try different mechs until finding one that fits.

As for me, I played at least ten matches before finding a Gundam that suited me, and each of those ten mechs I tried played quite differently. Some are better at close-range attacks, while others are more equipped for long-range assaults. A few also seemed to be meant for ground attacks while others had an advantage in the air. It’s great to see so many options and unique aspects to the battle styles.

As for the arenas, they’re large, usually square zones, some of which have elevation changes and/or destructible buildings. The environmental graphics definitely scream ‘arcade’ which isn’t a bad thing, but players looking for realism won’t find it here. However, the Gundams are wonderfully detailed in a cartoon-like style that captures the spirit of the series.

The beta was primarily a network test, so the focus of gameplay was on online performance. There were a few hitches for me, but each time something cropped up I was able to jump right back in and start playing. Overall, things ran smoothly and I would expect these things to be ironed out before release.

Sadly, there were no singleplayer options available during this weekend’s beta, but the trailer promises robust solo missions including one mode that appears to resemble a fighting game ladder, but with branching options that impact difficulty. I look forward to checking out the full suite of options when the retail release hits, including tutorials which were not present — controls and button combinations could be found in-game, but there was no information on details like when to use certain attacks.

Overall, I enjoyed my short time in Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme vs. Maxiboost On. It has great arcade action that will hopefully translate well to singleplayer modes.

Fans of Mobile Suit Gundam and arcade titles will want to keep an eye on this one when it comes to PlayStation 4 on July 30, 2020.

Brian Theisen
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