Application, Gaming, Hands-On, Smartphone

Mega Man X DiVE Hands-On: Nostalgia Marred by Microtransactions

Mega Man – or Rockman, as it’s called in the Japanese market – is a big franchise with a long history, and it’s filled with nostalgia. To capitalise on this, Capcom Taiwan just released a new mobile game based on the Mega Man X series, aptly dubbed Mega Man X DiVE. This is the first Mega Man X game released after 16 long years – that’s quite a big deal.

While it does remain relatively faithful to the series, there are some elements of DiVE that could’ve been better. On top of that, this is inherently a gacha game, so expect a number of mictotransactions, which do spoil the nostalgic appeal of the game to an extent.

Anyway, after spending some time with the mobile game, here are my thoughts on Mega Man X DiVE. Even though the gacha aspect of the game isn’t great, I do thoroughly enjoy it.

Great-Looking Graphics

The moment I jumped into the game, this was the first thing that came to mind. I fondly remember the very first stage of Mega Man X, and it’s been reworked with a modern twist for DiVE. Even when compared to other mobile platformers in the market now, this game’s graphics still look great.

What about the overall performance of the game? I tested DiVE on the Samsung Galaxy S10+ and S20 Ultra, and it ran beautifully on both devices. I was getting 60fps consistently throughout my playthrough of the game, and I didn’t notice any drop in frame rate either.

Granted, these two are flagship smartphones, but if you do have issues running the game, you can tweak the graphics settings accordingly.

Plenty of Different Modes

Aside from the standard story mode – which is divided into several chapters – DiVE also offers quite a number of other game modes. These include co-op, PvP, and even boss challenges. If you’re having trouble with certain stages in story mode, you can always jump into the other modes to wind down.

Now, a bit of a disclaimer: I haven’t gotten far enough to unlock anything else besides story mode, so I can’t say for sure just how polished the other modes are. Nonetheless, they are there, and if the gameplay is any indication, I reckon the other modes will be quite fun.

Forgiving, But Not Necessarily Easy Gameplay

Speaking of gameplay, DiVE is a lot more forgiving when you make mistakes, especially in comparison to other Mega Man X titles in the past. For example, you don’t get collision damage when you run into enemies – though certain enemies will still damage you – and when you are hit by a projectile or enemy attack, you don’t get knocked back either.

That being said, you’re no longer invulnerable for a couple of seconds after getting damaged, so if you’re standing in the path of a barrage of projectiles, your health will trickle down much faster than you would expect. I was certainly surprised when I was constantly damaged by every single projectile that came my way.

Oh, falling into pits or spikes will not instantly kill you in DiVE. Instead, it will only take a good chunk of your health, so it’s not all that bad. However, there’s a good reason why the gameplay is a lot more forgiving than previous Mega Man X games, because..

It Has Clunky Controls

As expected, the touch controls in DiVE can get incredibly frustrating. Not only does the on-screen buttons can obstruct enemies at times, they are not quite as responsive as I would’ve liked too. There are times where X was just standing in place while I was furiously tapping on the attack button after activating some special attacks.

But I do have to commend the mechanics that are in place to make the controls easier and feel more intuitive. Take X’s charged shot: tapping on it charges up the weapon, and you can just tap it again to shoot. To make things even easier, the game automatically aims at enemies too, so you won’t have to position yourself.

Besides that, I quite like the movement controls as well. I can slide my finger from the dash button to the jump button to perform a dash jump, and vice versa. I can even perform a dash, jump, and attack in that particular order. All I have to do is just swipe my finger over the respective buttons.

While it can be a little fidgety to get these button combinations to work, it’s not exactly impossible to pull off consistently. Again, there are times where the buttons don’t seem to work as intended, but it could just be a mistake on my part. Nonetheless, if you do want the best gaming experience, it’s best to connect a gamepad to your phone.

Reliant on Microtransactions

As mentioned, DiVE is inherently a gacha game, so you do have to deal with a number of microtransactions to get the best weapons and characters. That’s right, not only do you have to get lucky enough to score a good character, you’ll have to do the same for weapons as well. It also doesn’t help that the drop rates are incredibly low too.

Understandably, microtransactions are unavoidable for most mobile games; it’s their main source of revenue, as is the case with many other gacha titles. When implemented right, microtransactions are not always bad, but you do have to spend a specific sum of money into DiVE to get the best setup. This is very much shaping up to be a pay to win game.

Regardless, I really do enjoy playing Mega Man X DiVE, and I’ll be spending even more time with this mobile game for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s the nostalgic music, characters, or just the fact that I’m playing a brand new Mega Man X game after all these years, I really can’t get enough of the game.

Sure, I’m still not a big fan of the controls and microtransactions – I’ll refrain from putting in any money into the game as much as I can – but this is a brand new Mega Man X game after Mega Man X8 was released back in 2004. For that reason alone, any Mega Man fan should check this game out.

Mega Man X DiVE is currently available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store in most Asian markets, including Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and of course, Taiwan. Alternatively, you can grab the APK file of the game over at Capcom Taiwan’s website.