Graceful Explosion Machine is a side scrolling shooting game in which you pilot the GEM fighter (GEM = Graceful Explosion Machine). It is the most advanced single pilot fighter in the galaxy, offering precise controls, nimble movement, and devastating firepower.
The GEM is armed with a number of weapons to choose from for all the different sticky situations you may get into while exploring the deep space and fighting off an alien armada though uncharted planets to find your way home.
You have four weapons to choose from when defeating your alien enemies. You start of with just the humble blaster, that after awhile will overheat but doesn’t have a long recharge time, so you can get back to blasting.
You then get the sword which spins around you killing any enemies that come into contact with it. It is really good to use when you get surrounded by enemies, more so if they are the ones that take a few hits with the blaster to kill. The sword will kill them in one hit normally.
After the sword you get the sniper beam. Which is fantastic to use it makes killing things so much more easier and you can kill more in a line than with the blaster and the sword, it is also good to use against enemies that don’t move around the map and just stay in one spot.
The last weapon you get is missiles. These are great for when you are backed into a corner, unlike the sword these can get you out of a jam much quicker and easier than using the sword or even the sniper beam. When you use it you send out a lot of missiles that hit everything near you and will even get some that are not as close as well.
While you do get plenty of weapons to choose from you are limited in how much you can use them. You have a power bar at the bottom of the screen that lets know when you get low on power by making lots of noise and making your controller vibrate. Though not all hope is lost when you run out of power, it does regenerate and when you kill enemies they drop little yellow diamonds that charge up your power as well. Sometimes you can be too surrounded by enemies to pick up the diamonds but you can use the dash ability to collect them as you pass through enemies when you dash.
Graceful Explosion Machine is just plain fun, even more so if you have a few friends to play the game with. Those of you who can remember back to the days of SEGA consoles will likely notice similarities with the classic ‘Fantasy Zone’, and if you do remember that game you will know this isn’t a bad thing. Levels get progressively harder to keep the challenge up and keep your attention on the screen. Visually the game is bright, colourful, crisp and overall very aesthetically pleasing, likewise the games soundtrack will keep you bopping and is well suited.
Level navigation was simple and intuitive and I appreciated both the levels looping around on themselves as well as the minimap up top which also revealed my enemies, making it much easier to find stragglers.
My only one (small) gripe with the game was the execution of turning the ship around, requiring a bit more effort than simply flicking a stick the other direction. It’s not a deal breaker and after only came to my attention during certain points of the game.
SCORE – 90%
Reviewed On – Playstation 4
Graceful Explosion Machine is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4