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Not So MMO: Vox Machinae - Hands on with the Mech Battler at PAX East 2018

By William Murphy on April 17, 2018 | Previews | Comments

Vox Machinae - Hands on with the Mech Battler at PAX East 2018

Vox Machinae is a mech gaming fan’s wet dream. Sorry, that was probably gross. But for real, Vox Machinae is three-faction mech battler that’s very much in the same vein as MechWarriors of old. Built primarily by a two-man dev team at Space Bullet, it was one of the best things I played at PAX East. Playable in VR, with a controller, or with the ol’ mouse and keyboard, it’s definitely one to watch.

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These aren’t regular mechs though - the GDRs (or Grinders) are seven times the size of a T-Rex, and they can all fly... or float rather. Any way, it’s awesome. There are FIVE Grinders at launch, and four unique maps to play in.

Each one of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, as the team at Space Bullet designed them to be a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors to each other. That’s not to say you can’t be paper and still take down scissors, because the gameplay itself is still all about skill in the end. I was clearly outmatched in my first few runs, but by the end of my half hour demo I was strafing in mid-air, launching missiles over rock formations, and blowing up GDRs like a pro.

What’s really rad about Vox Machinae is that in VR, using the Oculus Rift, you really are in the cockpit. That’s the core conceit of a lot of VR games, but Space Bullet really paid a lot of attention to detail. To eject from the cockpit, you can actually look down and pull the lever between your knees. Displays and dashboards are on swivels, and you can move them with your virtual hands so that it’s all set up exactly as you like. There’s a walkie-talkie that you can actually pick up and use for VOIP to talk with squad mates, or to gloat when a match is over.

It’s a whole lot to control, but after a few matches, it comes quite naturally. One hand controls the steering of your legs, the other controls the forward or backwards throttle. There’s a lever you pull up on with your right hand to engage your jump jets. Your left trigger shoots your regular guns, while your right shoots your missiles. To aim, simply look at your target - your eyes are the reticle.

Vox Machinae is an excellent pick-up, blow-up, have fun kind of multiplayer experience. The fact that it’ll be both in VR and “standard PC” means that the audience is as big as it needs to be. Space Bullet’s game will be buy to play later this year, but there are ongoing beta tests right now that you can sign up for at the website.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.