Weapon of Choice DX Review: Run and Gun Against Mutant Scum
Weapon of Choice DX is the latest high octane project from publisher Mommy’s Best Games and developer Super Soul. Much like Shoot 1-UP DX, it’s a rebalanced version of the original Weapon of Choice game. And there’s a lot to like about it. This is obviously a title inspired by the likes of Contra, though it throws many, many curveballs of its own. It’s a story about a gene-bending menace assaulting Earth. It literally mashes random lifeforms together, creating horrifying (yet colorful) monstrosities. You’re one of the few Solus Operatives able to fight back, armed with next-gen weapons. Can you defeat this spacefaring menace before Earth becomes an alien cesspool? Find out in this Weapon of Choice DX review!
Ballistic Boot Camp
One of the strongest elements about Weapon of Choice DX is replayability. Not only is there an extensive roster of heroes from you to pick from, but you can also find and add more members to your team. Better yet, each one has a different armament, with both a primary and secondary weapon. These can range from remote-controlled machine guns to lasers and rocket engines, and much more besides. Additionally, each character has a different recovery move, which is vital in exploring these expansive levels.
Perhaps the best part about the game is it features branching pathways and multiple endings. While most story arcs in the game consist of 3 levels, there’s a lot of variety here. And as I stated earlier, the levels are huge and non-linear. So if you want to explore, go nuts. I did after playing for a while and found a well-hidden route in the very first level that led to another section. When you throw in monstrous mutants and larger-than-life bosses, you have the right tools to make an incredible game. And while I did enjoy Weapon of Choice DX, several design elements kept me from enjoying it more.
Try Not Being a Red Shirt
Now, I’m as big a fan of Contra as the next gamer from the ’80s. And I don’t at all mind a good challenge, so long as I feel properly equipped to meet it. And while it’s true you have some amazing armament, the game nevertheless felt a bit unbalanced. One reason I feel that way is because the platforming felt floaty and imprecise. I never felt the weight of gravity as I double jumped, for example. And while every character has a neat mechanical Spiderpack to climb and scale walls, it almost felt like it was on autopilot, so I would often stumble into a trap without realizing it. Worse, the open-ended nature of the game contributes to many boss fights where I was struggling just to get to safety before I unloaded on them.
Brushes With Death
There’s also a mechanic in the game called Death-Brushing. When you’re on the verge of dying, the game will slow down, and you’ll see laughing skulls zip past your head. The object that’s about to kill you will be highlighted during this time. If you can avoid it quickly enough, you’ll survive. If not, your current character will meet their maker, and you’ll get one more chance with another character. They’ll come zipping into combat on a Vengeance Missile, which you can aim at foes. That’s great in theory, but almost every time I aimed it, the foes would escape before my Dr. Strangelove moment could reach its explosive conclusion. Worse, you can only rescue one teammate per level, though the game never tells you this. So if you find a new teammate in your travels and then perish, you get a lovely Sophie’s Choice moment.
Pretty, Pretty Monsters
I should say, I adore the art style in Weapon of Choice DX. It’s grungy, full of details, and highly creative. The only downside is it’s often hard to tell the monsters you’re fighting from the backgrounds themselves. More than once I ran into what I thought was an innocuous bush, only for my character to suddenly perish. Musically, the game is hard rocking and full of gusto. It’s enjoyable, but since I pretty much exclusively play my Switch handheld, I wasn’t able to appreciate the full bombastic glory of the tunes. I’m sure they’d be much better if the game were played on a TV screen. That said, the art and music in the game are definite high points.
While I have my share of complaints about the game, I still enjoyed it. Mostly cause of all the options available to the player. Though I had a hard time with the default controls, titled Modern, I started to do much better on Old School. Not only does that setup allow you to lock your character in place, but it lets you lock your gun in place, making it far easier to run and gun accurately. And though I felt the game was a bit unbalanced, the sheer amount of unlockables, combined with the low price of entry, makes it easier to forgive some aspects.
Blast Some Mutant Scum
Weapon of Choice DX is a wild ride with a lot of ambition. While I don’t feel it quite lived up to its potential, and felt that Shoot 1-UP DX was the better game by Super Soul, there’s still a lot here for fans to enjoy. If you miss Contra and want something similar, I’d give Weapon of Choice DX a shot. Just get ready for one insane rollercoaster of a game with a zany plot to match.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: Switch (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One; Publisher: Mommy’s Best Games; Developer: Super Soul, LLC; Players: 1; Released: September 2, 2021; ESRB: T for Teen – Blood, Violence, Use of Tobacco, Drug Reference; MSRP: $5.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.