Implosion: Never Lose Hope follows the story of Jake, a human survivor of a cataclysmic event that nearly wiped out humanity twenty years ago. After an alien race invaded and started busting up Earth, a small contingent of humans narrowly made it off the planet in time to escape to the relative safety of life in space.
Catching us up to the present, humanity has technologically advanced and can fight back using the latest and greatest War-Mech series III: incredible mechas piloted by an elite team that serves as humanity's last hope against the alien aggressors. The story is standard sci-fi stuff and isn't amazing or innovative, but it is vastly helped by a great cast of voice actors and a stellar full orchestral score.
The story is standard sci-fi stuff and isn't amazing or innovative, but it is vastly helped by a great cast of voice actors and a stellar full orchestral score.
I'm not playing this game for the story, though; I'm here for the action and Implosion delivers on that front in spades. This mobile-native title's touch controls are some of the best I've used in a long time. On the left side, you've got a virtual joystick to control your movement, and on the right side you've got a series of virtual buttons to activate your combat commands. The primary command you'll use is Strike, which activates your mecha's sword by tapping it. A series of taps using Strike will dole out rapid light attacks, but periodically you'll see a faint purple hue over your character, indicating that a tap timed with the purple glow will activate a heavy attack.
The combat system isn't overly complex, but it can be a lot more rewarding if you work on your timing instead of just straight button-mashing to deliver more effective combos. You've also got a button to dodge roll out of danger, which requires a cool down after three consecutive dodges, and a button for a more powerful special ability that needs to be charged up to use.
The combat manages to stay fresh thanks to a deep customization system.
I was a little worried that the gameplay would start to feel repetitive after a while, but Implosion has yet another ace up its sleeve in that department: a surprisingly deep customization system. It's actually not very well explained (a small tick in the Cons column), but you can configure the heck out of your mecha. To get the most out of this system, you'll need to find special crafting fragments around the world, some of which are only obtainable on specific levels and while playing certain difficulties. My point being, there's more there to uncover if you're willing to put in a little extra legwork to find it. I won't spoil anything, but eventually you'll also be able to unlock other mechas that have different abilities and attack styles.
Graphically speaking, the opening cutscene is so beautifully animated, I would have happily watched an entire anime of it. I got an extra shock after I started researching the game a bit more and realized it was released all the way back in 2015 (though initially on iOS — the Android port arrived in 2017). The game still looks great now, so I imagine it would have blown my mind if I had been able to play it when it came out.
Beyond the cutscenes, the game still looks very good on mobile. The in-game animations are smooth, from walking to heated combat, and so far I haven't experienced any lag even when the screen is packed to the gills with enemies. The animations on the warmechs are particularly satisfying when combined with the audio design. It really makes you feel like you're piloting a big, heavy mech, which is a welcome touch. Nobody wants to feel like they weigh as much as a marshmallow when you're supposed to be a one-man metal terror. Enemy and environmental designs are nothing to write home about, but they do their job of creating an immersive sci-fi world, which is good enough for me.
The ranged weapon attack is one of the clunkier mechanics, tending to feel slow and awkward to aim.
I do, however, have two gripes with the game, one of which is not unique to Implosion. I'm the kind of person who finds it incredibly difficult to focus on gameplay and spoken or written dialogue at the same time. Unfortunately for me, Implosion just loves to throw you into a fight and then have your NPCs start talking to you over your commlink. My options in these situations are to run away or dodge around in circles to try and actually focus on what's being said, which is occasionally important to the story or combat scenario. Alternatively, I just have to play through the dialogue and hope I didn't miss anything vital.
My other small complaint is that I found the ranged weapon attack, in particular, to be on the clunkier side. I'm not one to favor ranged combat in the first place, but it becomes more necessary the further you make it into the game to diversify your approach and be more strategic, especially with some of the bosses and mini-bosses. To activate your ranged weapon, you have to hold down and drag your Strike button in the direction of what you're shooting at, which will activate an automatic firing mechanic as long as you have ammo. It's not a horrible system, but it felt too slow and too awkward to aim for me to use it much.
The tutorial and first few missions are free to play, but after that it's $1.99 to purchase the rest of the game. This is a decently sized experience though, with a main campaign that could easily last you anywhere between eight to 10 hours. If you were aiming to land all of the achievements, you might even be able to tack a couple of extra hours onto that.
Implosion: Never Lose Hope is well worth its cost, and is a rare example of a mobile game that was deemed "good enough" to get a console port to the Nintendo Switch. I've watched a few videos of the Switch port though, and I have to say, it looks better on mobile, especially if you've got a phone with killer screen like the Samsung Galaxy S21. It also costs less on mobile, so I would highly recommend picking up this title in its original format if you can. This action-packed indie is yet another example of Rayark knocking it out of the park and after Cytus II and now Implosion, it's safe to say that I'll be watching out for future Rayark titles like a hawk.