Implosion: Never Lose Hope Review | Tough But Fair

There is a common misconception that all mobile games are bad and that they simply flood the market with lackluster titles in order to make money off the ever-growing "casual gamer" population. And although some of that may be true, the problem with mobile games, often, isn't the game itself. Rather the clunky and claustrophobic touch controls that have you tapping and swiping across the roughly 5-inch display. From N.O.V.A. to Modern Combat there are some amazing games on the mobile market. All you need to do is add some good old fashioned physical controls and you might be surprised how great those games actually are. Need proof? Look no further than Implosion: Never Lose Hope.

Implosion: Never Lose Hope was released on April 8, 2015 on iOS and Android devices and since then has garnered over 5 million downloads and over 200,000 reviews. On July 6, 2017, is was re-released on the Nintendo Switch. But how does a 2-year-old mobile game feel on a console?

Implosion takes place twenty years after an apocalyptic event caused humans to flee Earth. However, a new threat has been detected that endangers the remaining population and it is up to you to save humanity. This may seem a bit extreme, but the game's voice actors commit to the somewhat cheesy lines and before long you can't help but take their word for it. The campaign takes about 3-4 hours to beat, but you can add another 2-3 hours on top of that once you unlock Crimson because she brings new dialogue, gameplay, and combat to the game. On top of that, after finishing the first chapter you unlock "Another Story" which gives you a mini-campaign from the point of view of a different character who you meet in the main campaign. (As a side note, this different character is extremely fun to play as.) Furthermore, finishing the campaign gives you access to "Special Mode" which has you surviving against rounds of enemies. The thing that all this shows, above the dedication of so many different teams and companies, is that the world of Implosion is well developed. And as the game comes to an end with its final cutscene you can tell that this won't be the last we see of the world and the characters of Implosion.

Throughout the game you will be hacking and slashing (and occasionally shooting) your way through cramped research labs and frozen tundras filled with monsters of all shapes and sizes. The game has a decent variety of enemy types, with new ones being introduced every couple of missions. However, be prepared to see the same humanoid robots and elemental zombies over and over again because they are thrown at you in basically every mission. The enemy designs are pretty original, but I can't help think of Xenomorphs from Alien every time I see the Reptillex. The gameplay is smooth, for the most part, and although the game can handle all the chaos on the screen there is a bit of lag when you pick up a new weapon from a crate. The biggest problem I had with the game happened in the menus, when the game crashed as I customized my WarMech. This was the first time a game crashed on my Nintendo Switch and it caught me off guard but no progress was lost.

Before I move on from the gameplay, there is one other thing that I have to mention about the game. Even on Normal difficulty, the game is challenging and the big boss fights that bring each chapter to an end are tough! The game does not shy away from giving you a hard time and throws several mini-bosses at you at once without hesitation. There is one room in the game that has you go up against eight or so Armadons while another has you go up against two Praetors AT ONCE! With that said the game does have health packs you can pick up and each level gives you five revives. (Although some badges require that you complete the mission with no revives.) Plus, as Dark Souls has proved time and time again, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

The visuals of Implosion are not groundbreaking, but that's not a bad thing because there are also no problems to report. I played the first half of the game in handheld mode and was too busy with the gameplay to judge the visuals. However, the challenge would be to see it in action while docked because a mobile game on the big screen usually doesn't make for a good experience. So I was pleasantly surprised when the game looked as good as some of the typical console games we expect on Xbox One and PS4. I do want to warn you however that even though the trailer for the game shows fully rendered 3D sequences the game's cutscenes are completely different. They are more of a stylized graphic novel (as seen above) reminiscent of the inFamous games. They make for pretty cool end caps for each chapter, but do not watch the trailer and assume the cutscenes are likewise.

With all that said my favorite thing about Implosion is its sound. I can't quite nail it down, but there is something about the game's soundtrack that makes it feel like you're playing a sci-fi movie. As the game's opening cutscene set up the story the music genuinely impressed me. I later found out that the developers of Implosion, Rayark Inc., have also made music rhythm games in the past. (Voez is also made by Rayark and is also available on the Nintendo Switch.) They are also working on a full feature animation set in the world of Implosion called Implosion: Zero Day. I couldn't find the official soundtrack of Never Lose Hope so here is the music demo for Zero Day instead.

In the end, Implosion: Never Lose Hope is a great value for $11.99. For what was once a mobile game, it is packed with a lot of content and replayability. How Long to Beat reports that the game takes roughly 9 and 1/2 hours to complete, but you can add a couple more hours if you are going for all the badges and unlocks. Whether you are playing in handheld or TV mode the game looks and plays better than expected. Implosion is unlike most games you find on the eShop and is definitely worth picking up.

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