Housemarque, the developer that ushered in the PS4 era with the fascinating launch shooter "Resogun," continues its momentum with yet another bullet hell odyssey. "Nex Machina" breaks away from the formula of the original to hew closer to the "Geometry Wars" template. You play as a soldier with unlimited ammo, spraying ordnance at swarms of assaulting enemies in order to carve out enough space to rescue captives.
Upgraded weaponry, power-ups and new levels await around every corner. Relentless and unforgiving in the vein of old-school, quarter-chomping arcade shooters, "Nex Machina" somehow manages to toe the line between brutally punishing without slipping into frustrating territory. Every time you're sent to the grave, you're itching to pop right back into the action and build upon your past successes. A certain amount of trial and error is involved, giving you an instant "Groundhog Day" feel as you repeat your successful moves and experiment with new ideas to further your advancement.
Enemy formations are tricky but predictable. Pay attention and you can master the intricacies of what it takes to advance through seemingly impassible swarms. Once you've put in enough time, you feel like a zen master who controls all he sees, bending time and space to your will.
If you're less than hardcore, you can slam through the levels as something of a tourist on the lower difficulties. But the game is at its best when it's most intense. "Nex Machina" has proven to be one of the more addictive shooters on the system, as well as one of its most exhilarating experiences. The highest praise I can give it is to say it's a game good enough to get you to put "Resogun" down for a bit.
Publisher provided review code.