Meltdown is a fun, pick up and play, isometric shooter that lets you level up, buy new equipment, play with other people and upgrade. It has a lot of things going for it, great look, easy controls, great enemy diversity, randomly generated maps for each mission, drop in cooperative play and accessories that affect your stats. If you want to play alone, there is a quick setting for that, but I think it adds a lot of fun having some random stranger drop into my game. It breaks up me vs everyone. Enemies get increased stats when people enter your game, otherwise it would just be easy and robbing you of fun and challenge. There is an easy list of games to see, so you can drop in on someone else.
The controls are easy and combat is fun. A roll to dodge or move quick. A melee button that will get you more experience for close kills. Change between two different equipped guns and of course a trigger to shoot. Your character automatically aims at the nearest target, which for the most part is exactly how it should be. You can't miss.
You have a shield and health. Your shield regenerates, but your health doesn't. When you're dying, you feel it the screen gets more difficult to see as you go all woozy. There are also random objects to use for cover. If you walk up to cover and just rest without shooting, you're hidden as long as nothing flanks you. When you shoot or melee, then you're standing so enemies can shoot you. Its an easy to use mechanic that has a lot of use further in the game where the sheer amount of damage. Some cover objects can get destroyed, but they are pretty rare. There are even walls that move up and down to take away your cover. Humanoid enemies will also use cover to hide behind. To get over cover, just get up next to it and hit the roll button to vault over. Jumping over cover into an enemy can hurt them, just as they can hurt you. Its such a nice system.
As you kill enemies, you're rewarded with coins, upgrade parts, the occasional mystery box and power ups like double damage or nuke'em that hurts all active enemies. After every completed mission, you'll open all the collected mystery boxes which can contain coins, extra experience, nothing, upgrade parts or even the rare extra life. These extra lives are hard to come by. When you die on a mission, you can use an extra life, but once you're dead, you either restart the mission or quit. One and done with this game, so you need to pick where you use your extra lives to get thrown back into the action where you died.
There are 30 missions, but there is plenty to do even if you don't take on an official mission. There is a death match where you compete against other players. A quick play that generates a map just for you based on your current level and because you're special! A wave battle, where you just keep fighting wave after wave until you die. I usually get bored playing other horde modes, but this is one of the rare times where I kept having fun time and time again. What makes Meltdown interesting is that everything is randomly generated. Even if its your tenth time playing the same mission, it will always be different.
When you're not playing the game, you're upgrading. You have items and the abilities. Items unlock as you level up, but you still need to buy them. There is a selection of five guns (shotgun, flame thrower, SMG, pistol and grenade launcher) that can get upgraded with 9 improvements out of 6 slots in 3 different tiers. Once you get to the 9th or 10th upgrade it unlocks better version of the gun. So you can equip both the shotgun and its better counterpart the spread gun. There are different melee weapons to buy, but it only amounts to more damage. Then equip your four different accessories from armors, headgear, shoulder gear and face wear. Its not just cosmetic differences, but things that change combat stats. Such as a cowboy hat that improve shotgun damage. Armor that regenerates ammunition or a ninja mask that improves move speed and dodge speed. Its all up to you. All the wearable items can get upgraded too!
Every time you level up, you get an ability to use. Each of the several tiers has three different abilities to unlock. Health, melee and guns. Each slot can get upgraded 3 times before it lets you go up a tier. The abilities are subtle, but do a lot, especially the health. They make enemies have a chance to drop shield charges or health. You can get an ability that lets you regenerate health if your shields are full. I would say stick to the health, but you'll have everything maxed out by the end of 30 missions. When you do have everything maxed out, you can chose to rank up your prestige which gives you more health.... but resets your character and missions. A game this good, I enjoy that extra replay value. It also unlocks new items.
With the need to upgrade, level up and buy things, this might sound like a grind of a game. You can grind, but I never did except for the rare times that I wanted lives from mystery boxes. I didn't have to make this a job to level up.
The game feels like it has limited map assets and rarely changes its blue metallic look. As the missions progress, blue and green are thrown into the mix, but its all the same. Since everything is randomly generated, the areas get remixed and while everything all looks the same, it doesn't feel familiar outside of the boss battles. A few times there are cars here and there, parked on platforms that seem crazy to have cars, but whatever. The sad part is that you can't make the vehicles explode. The music is techno or dub step and it seems to fit the game, even if I'm not a fan of the music, its still great game music in this case.
Since the levels rarely change the look, its the enemies that stand. There is a wide array of enemies, tactics and weapons they use. It starts with simple bomb spiders that come to you and explode. Then goes up to small cannon tanks. Stationary sentries that come in a wide variety: fire, machine guns, cannons and even walking electricity sentries that can zap you through cover. Red light hover pods will shoot at you, blue ones will electrocute you exposing you up from cover.
Then come the androids. Easy wrench melee droids that run at you, machine gunners that find cover and shoot, shot gunners that won't just kill you close range, but dash to stab you, grenaders that hide and extra deadly snipers. As the missions progress, some of the robots like the machine gunners and snipers will roll to find cover. If you jump over anyone's cover they'll find cover elsewhere. The enemy intelligence is really nice and every weapon from every enemy seems effective to kill you. Grenades knock you down, electricity stuns you, melee enemies break through your cover so the others can advance closer. They all have their limitations though. Snipers fire one at a time and after a few shots need to reload. Machine gunners are slow to follow your movements, but the number of bullets will melt your health. Cannons do bigger damage, but fire much slower.
Most missions offer some unique gimmick where at some point of the map, the game locks you in an area and forces you to defeat either a giant pink boss version of a normal enemy, a unique boss, a wall or a simple wave battle. The wave battles are the easiest. The unique bosses are pretty difficult and you can tell, because they're the levels that everyone joins you to play. The walls are far more difficult. There are 3 plungers that regenerate their health, 1 wall and 3 sections of force field. Damage the plunger will remove a section of wall for you to take out the sentries behind the section. Why is it difficult? Because you're always aimed at the nearest target. So even if you want to shoot the two machine gun sentries about to annihilate you, your character turns to take out a different plunger.
With all this said, I highly recommend this cheap game. Even if the scenery doesn't change much, the combat is excellent.ThanksRybcka!