Humans in disguise.
What if Transformers were really just humans that transferred their consciousnesses into robots, actually couldn't transform, and did lots of shooting with guns in a twin-stick shooter? Well, then you'd have Livelock, a game not to be confused with the identity-theft protection service LifeLock.
I've played plenty of twin-stick shooters, and Livelock is a pretty enjoyable one. You play as one of three robots, each with unique weapons and abilities. One robot punches has shields and plays the role of a tank, another heals, and another is a ranged shooter. As the game supports three players simultaneously, playing with one of each character is ideal but not necessary.
I played a majority of the five-hour story mode solo without many issues, though a third of the game I had a co-op partner, with neither of us playing as a support. While playing alone is still fun, the difficulty scales when playing with multiple players and makes things both a bit more challenging and fun. That said, playing on the hardest difficulty didn't provide much of a challenge, especially considering there were no consequences from dying as you can nearly instantly respawn, even if everyone on your team is downed. From what I could tell, the only downside is you won't score as many points, and if you don't care about leaderboards, then that is hardly a penalty. That makes me question why the devs even bothered to implement a lives system if it doesn't impact the gameplay?
Combat falls somewhere between a standard twin-stick shooter and a MOBA as each character has unlockable abilities with cooldowns, including an ultimate. As I mentioned, each character is designed with a role in mind, such as a tank, a ranged attacker, and a support which makes for a nice goulash of genres. Fans of dungeon crawlers should find plenty to enjoy here as well with the familiar top-down third-person camera as well as leveling characters unlocking new weapons, with random drops provide new cosmetics such as helmets, capes, and colors for your chosen robots.
While many of the levels are "shoot the bad guys while going from point A to point B" or "defend this object for a few waves of enemies," they somehow end up feeling fresh, aside from a certain boss you fight three times and some later levels that have bullet-sponge enemies. Perhaps this is because the game doesn't overstay its welcome clocking in at just over five hours with an optional survival mode for those looking to be listed on the leaderboards (at the time of writing I'm number 19 on the two player leaderboards worldwide and yes I'm bragging). Five hours felt like a good length of time for the game, but I couldn't help but feel like I wish there were more, which is both a good and bad thing.
If you're going to play this game, do so for the gameplay more than anything, as nothing else really stands out. The story is generic and predictable, the graphics are decent yet nothing to write home to mom about, but the combat is fun and rewarding, which is what matters most. There isn't any replay value unless you feel the need to max out every character, find audio logs that give a bit more backstory, or completing achievements, none of which felt compelling to me.
If you're looking for a fun twin-stick shooter that feels familiar yet fresh, Livelock is worth a purchase, especially if you have friends to play with. Now, if only it had a better title like 'Rock'em, Sock'em, Brobots'.