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After playing through the first few worlds of Vertex Pop’s new title Graceful Explosion Machine, I’ve graduated from a space scrub to a smooth, skilled space pilot filled with swagger. The constant onslaught of enemies in small, intense worlds provides an addicting, fast-paced shooter that keeps me saying “just one more game!”

Graceful Explosion Machine is a 2D side-scrolling space shooter. While slightly different in its format, adventuring through the game reminds me of playing Galaga with my dad. The overwhelming number of enemies and the fun, frantic spaceship gameplay is great for bite-sized chunks of playtime. You’ll bust through levels blasting enemies in order to build combos and rack up the most points possible.

A pilot’s arsenal

The small, unassuming orange ship I’ve spent a dozen hours piloting looks innocent at first, but it’s actually loaded with weapons to help me take out the various alien species I’ve encountered. Besides the standard blaster, there’s an energy sword to take out close range enemies, missiles to lock onto the tougher bad guys, and a sniper laser to take out the strongest of foes. I can also perform a quick jump across the screen to get out of any tough situations.

There’s an answer to every predicament, and if I pull it off just right there’s almost no situation I can’t escape unscathed. Surrounded by a swarm of enemies? I can destroy ‘em all with my sword, fire missiles every which way or hop out of there and flank them from behind. I’m looking forward to seeing new strategies develop as I progress towards the end of the game.

Flyin’ on the go

Thanks to the wonderful concept of the Nintendo Switch, I’ve been able to play Graceful Explosion Machine both at home and on the go. It’s become crystal clear that handheld mode is the best way to experience this side-scrolling space shooter. Each level only lasts a few minutes, so it’s perfect for the handheld model.

Stay tuned

There are plenty of aliens left to destroy and planets left to conquer in Graceful Explosion Machine, and I’m looking forward to blasting my way through the rest of this journey. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, and I can’t wait to share all my thoughts about it after I conquer the rest of the solar system.

Stay tuned to Nintendo Wire for the full review of Graceful Explosion Machine, which is heading to the Nintendo Switch on April 6th!


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Written by Logan Plant

Logan loves voicing his opinions just as much as writing them. When he isn’t gaming or writing, Logan’s probably recording a podcast or chatting on the radio. Video game journalism is his passion, and he hopes to cover video games for years to come.