The Mobius Machine review

by on February 25, 2024
Release Date

March 1, 2024


It seems like everyone and their mother loves a good old Metroidvania game, but from experience I’d say the majority of the titles learn more towards the Vania than the Metroid thanks to a focus on melee combat. Personally I’m happy to play games on both ends of the Metroidvania spectrum, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss blasting baddies with a laser beam as I explore a gear-gated world. Well those of you who are also missing the sci-fi shooting are in luck, because The Mobius Machine wears its Metroid inspiration on its sleeve.

The game starts with our astronaut protagonist waking from a nightmare where he’s trapped on an alien planet, then receives a distress call from an uninhabited world on his spaceship. Lo and behold while trying to help his trusty vessel crashes, and (just like his nightmare) he’s stuck on a planet full of aggressive aliens. That’s all you really get from the narrative, but it sets you up for a whole lot of shooting and exploring.

Fans of the originator of the genre will feel immediately at home in The Mobius Machine. Armed with a laser gun your task is to find some sign of life on the planet by any means necessary, and that means shooting your way through a whole lot of green blobs. It’s easy to aim at whatever you want by aiming with your right stick, and your big spaceman jump will help dodge any attacks that come your way. It doesn’t take long for you to start upgrading your arsenal and abilities though, and they’ll lead you to new places.

A screenshot of The Mobius Machine

The first upgrade I got was a shotgun, which you can fire at any time with the alternate trigger without using up any resources whatsoever. It’s a handy way to deal extra damage up close, but isn’t as important as those classic movement upgrades that let you access new areas. From the slide that’ll get you over crumbling blocks fast enough to escape falling, to the climbing pick that means rock walls are no longer going to stop you in your tracks, finding these upgrades is key if you want to get off this planet.

Finding them is easier said than done though, especially given how the map works in The Mobius Machine. When you first enter an area you’ll have no way to see where you are on your map, as it’s only revealed when you find a map room and download it. This isn’t my favourite mechanic when it pops up in Metroidvanias, but under the right circumstances it can be an interesting way to make the world feel more dangerous. That’s not really the case in The Mobius Machine though, where you’re expected to wander around for way too long without a map and even once you get one there’s nothing to help you figure out where to go next or which areas of the map are inaccessible with your current skills.

The other major issue I had with The Mobius Machine is how little you’re actually rewarded for exploring when you do wander off the beaten path. Now admittedly sometimes you’ll end up finding a big movement upgrade or even something handy like the ability to attract currency towards you, but more often than not you’ll either find a third of a weapon blueprint (with no guarantee you’ll ever find the other two thirds) or a box of gears which you can use to make new guns or open up new routes. This would be fine, but I never reached a point in the game where it felt like I was strapped for cash, so these crates of currency never really excited me.

A screenshot of The Mobius Machine

You’ll have to be careful exploring in The Mobius Machine too, because when you die you’ll lose a big chunk of cogs that are left at the place you perished. Yes, this is one of those Metroidvanias with a sprinkle of Soulslike “magic”, which will likely divide the opinion of those who play it. I rarely found it too egregious, but with save points spread particularly far apart there were a few times I wasn’t happy to have to travel across half the map again.

This is made worse by how quickly even a basic enemy can wreck your health bar. It doesn’t take more than a handful of hits for your health to go into the red danger zone, and when new enemies are introduced and you’re caught unaware then you’d better hope you’ve been collecting enough energy to heal after.

It might sound like I’m not really a fan of The Mobius Machine, but it’s not a bad game. Those who enjoy the feeling of being lost and in peril in a strange land will have a good time looking for new power ups and blasting baddies, and the chunky 3d character models bring the world to life. I can’t deny that there are mechanics in the game that left me frustrated (and not quite enough exciting new ideas to counteract that frustration) but The Mobius Machine is a competent Metroidvania with a nice sprinkle of charm.


A rare gun focused Metroidvania
Nails that feeling of being trapped on an alien world
Visually lovely


No map in new areas means you'll feel lost a lot
Weak rewards for exploring
Soulslike mechanics won't be for everyone

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Mobius Machine is a fine Metroidvania with an emphasis on sci-fi shooting, but its map issues and weak upgrades drag it down.