One look at Volta-X, and I’m immediately transported to watching Cartoon Network as a kid waiting for Voltron or Thunder Cats to come on. The aesthetic of the game’s animal characters seems to play on these hero themes as they climb into these towering mechs and unleash powerful weaponry.
After speaking with Volta-X director Fumiaki Shiraishi and art director Pramin Phatiphong, we were able to dive deeper into where this idea came from. It’s clear that screenshots do not do Volta-X justice as its hectic single-player and PVP offerings expand on the idea of taking control of a mech and interacting with the crew to execute various actions.
Shiraishi-san mentioned that this is something they had planned as a concept early on, “there’s a lot of materials in anime and movies that show what it’s like to be inside the robot, but it’s not explored so much in video games.” The team wanted to give players the keys to the mech and take full control. The outcome is unique as you navigate characters through the inside of a robot and have them take on tasks such as charging an attack or making repairs.
Shiraishi-san adds, “The idea that I wanted to try and make work was shooting a rocket punch, which is a staple in anime shows. So you’ll have to go to the hand, buckle yourself up, push a button, and shoot yourself into an opponent. And there’s some humor in that.” From that early planning, the game evolved into what it is now, but that concept is still found within the gameflow.
Through the game’s development, the characters themselves also went through some changes. The first concept was to have characters create a team of hamsters who would then take on remedial tasks such as performing in a hamster wheel to power the mech. The switch to animal characters was a challenge for Phatiphong-san as he struggled with how much they wanted to represent the actual animals the characters are based on.
The change from cute hamsters to tough-looking animals played out well and worked wonders on its aesthetic. Through development, Phatiphong-san reflected on how he approaches designing characters with an abstract mind to see just how weird he can make something, but still make it relatable in a unique way. The character’s attitude may have changed, but if you ask me, they are still pretty cute.
When it comes to gameplay, Shiraishi-san says, “We wanted to make it feel like you’re playing with a toy, but we want to give the player more to do with their toy than just transform it a few times.” As players customize their robots and add their own personal touches to design, it does produce the feeling of interacting with a toy. In battle, the interaction becomes even more profound as players make strategic choices on the best ways they can take down their opponents.
One interesting fact about the development of Volta-X is that there were talks of it possibly being a free-to-play game. However, with the structure of the single-player and PVP mode, it just wouldn’t work out. The team knew that this game wouldn’t be a good fit for that model and decided to design it in a way where it doesn’t offer those gacha systems or pay-to-win elements. More or less, they aimed for balance, and that balance will consistently be improved through post-launch updates.
Volta-X is a title that does have some depth, which players will discover more of as the play through the modes. The games focus on customization, online and offline gameplay, and some of the most adorable characters around really pay off in its overall appeal. It’s important not to let these games fall under your radar as Volta-X tries new things within the mech action genre.
Also, if you’re waiting for a physical release, it’s something the team is looking into.
Volta-X is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC-via Steam for $19.99.
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