Project Nimbus: CE
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Project Nimbus: Complete Edition blasts onto home consoles courtesy of publisher GameTomo and developers GameCrafterTeam. With three action-packed game modes on offer including a full Campaign, a classic Survival Mode and a hefty progressive combat mode called WARFRONT, Project Nimbus looks to provide a high octane, sci-fi explosion fest for the wannabe robot jox among us, but does this port provide enough bang for your buck or does it crash and burn? Let’s take a look.
The main brunt of the game consists of the generous campaign offering. Set in the late 21st century following a devastating war that has left the surface of earth unhabitable, two of the remaining three factions now exist in a series of floating cities while the third, who chose to remain on the surface, dwell in the ruins. Failing to learn from mankind’s past mistakes they continue to fight over resources using giant mechs called Battle Frames. You primarily play as a pilot from either the CFN, a superpower led by America, or UCN, a superpower lead by the combined forces of China and Russia.
Taking place over four acts, each with around eight missions you will see both sides of the war as you switch between the two main protagonists. Both these characters “Juliana” for UCN and “Mirai” for CFN and their respective companions are very well fleshed out. The story takes a sombre look at mankind’s constant infatuation with war and the consequences of our actions as both pilots witness the ones they care about fall in battle and start to question, what are they really fighting for. This line of storytelling was a pleasant surprise and had a few undertones reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid and the original Terminator movies. The story plays out primarily during mission briefings between levels, in mission dialogue and towards the second act some stunning anime-style cutscenes. There are also optional audio logs to listen to between missions where a lot of character development is provided, once again having a similar feel to MGS: Peace Walker. Whether you want to get involved in this story or not, the obvious bread and butter of Project Nimbus are the combat heavy missions where you get to take control of Battle Frames.
There is a wide range of Battle Frames to pilot throughout the game, all packed with a selection of weapons and each has a bit of back story and design which adds depth to the military heavy narrative. Older models may be slower and feature a couple of offensive weapons whereas higher tech and up to date models will be jam-packed with offensive, defensive and manoeuvrable capabilities. Sadly you don’t get to pick and choose which Frame you want to use, each mission has a designated Frame for you to pilot, on the odd occasion you get the choice of two, but the game does a good job of mixing up the types you pilot as you progress. This does make the experience a bit jarring at first as you begin with a basic Frame then suddenly get given a badass unit with more weapons that John Matrix only to be put back in command of a middle of the road Frame.
Balancing the number of weapons on hand at times is a messy affair as they range from machine guns, rockets, missiles, rail guns, drones, shields, boosts, swords and beyond, all of which have a tactical advantage and a cooldown for reloads to consider adding a bit of strategy to combat instead of just blasting away and hoping for the best. The game has three difficulty modes and even on regular it doesn’t take long for the challenge to ramp up. The difficulty does spike sharply at random intervals making the experience disjointed especially when being thrown into a new Frame with nine weapons to figure out while being overwhelmed by a screen full of enemies. The story hits some high notes but for all the effort that has gone into driving some emotion of these characters a chunk of this is sadly lost due to the poor audio design. During missions, you will hear dialogue from both your pilot and comrades as well as the enemies, the voice acting is fantastic but at times the conversations play over each other causing a slur of jumbled words to play annoyingly loud while you are juggling objectives and enemies and miss out on the heart of the conversations.
The classic hoard style mode has been a favourite for years with most action games having a version thrown in for good measure. In Project Nimbus, you get to pick any frame of your choice and fight off endless waves of enemies in the bid to reach the highest score. It is nice to have a selection of mechs to choose from but if you have played the campaign by this stage you will know the majority of them to control the same and have very similar weapon selection so the real preference comes down to which one you think looks the coolest. Sadly, Project Nimbus is devoid of customization but with fifteen frames to choose from, you are bound to find something you like.
Warfront is the mode I enjoyed most and is perfect for on the go gameplay. You choose to play as either CFN or UCN forces and start off with an old school frame, as you play missions you earn resources to upgrade your frame and unlock better models while levelling up your own pilot rank giving the mode a true sense of progression. Six mission types are available to unlock and can be played endlessly across three difficulty setting’s, naturally the higher the difficulty the greater the reward. Game modes on offer are Battle, Base Defence, Base Assault, Interception, Acquisition and Assassination. The titles alone make their objectives obvious and the challenge varies depending on the frames you have available and their current stats. As tough as things can become the WARFRONT isn’t completely without mercy, if you fail a mission you get to keep all the resources you earnt in your attempt making failure less frustrating and more a learning curve as you might have just enough to enhance your armour or firepower and go back for another try.
Presentation throughout Project Nimbus is slick and very impressive to behold, playing on the switch the draw distance and lighting was some of the best I have seen in such an action-heavy game. More powerful consoles will no doubt have an even higher level of polish. The controls felt tight and responsive in both handheld and docked mode, the general set up is that of your traditional FPS title, a brief tutorial is provided but the game feels blissfully second nature very quickly. General performance was again impressive, even when the action really picked up I had no frame rate issues though hit detection did feel unbalanced at times, lock on’s and targeting would be fine then suddenly be useless even against enemies of the same type for a short time, this never felt like it was by design so it would be nice to see this sorted in a patch. During one mission where I was forced to fly below a certain level to avoid detection, my Frame would glitch through certain scenery like rocks and mountains but this was isolated to an early mission.
Project Nimbus is a great addition to the switch catalogue and provides a lot of content for a good price. Fantastic visuals, tight controls and an engaging story with two extra modes really make this feel like a complete package. Unfortunately, under the flashy coating and generosity lurk some sloppy sound designs, questionable difficulty spikes and random glitching. Although these elements didn’t do enough to spoil the overall experience, they do give the game a bit of a rushed feeling considering the amount of hard work and effort that has gone into most areas. Hopefully, these can be ironed out with a patch or two as Project Nimbus currently stands alone as the must-have Mech title on Switch, but with a certain anticipated contender looming on the horizon it needs to make itself more than just a gap filler for the fanbase.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam
Release Date: 16/05/2019
No. of Players: 1
Download link: eShop