'Nex Machina' will show you exactly how someone hit a high score

Video replays are tied to leaderboards and will reveal the game's secrets.

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Finnish developer Housemarque's ode to Robotron: 2084, Nex Machina is out for PC and PlayStation 4 this summer. And while we debuted it in December, details for the frantic arcade shooter have been relatively scarce since. But that's slowly changing. Perhaps the most exciting new wrinkle we've learned about is its replay mode. "All of the leaderboard entries are effectively recorded, which means it's possible to enter the leaderboards, select an entry and watch the replay," a post on the PlayStation Blog reads.

So, versus wondering how your buddy (or the top-ranking player) got the high score they did, you can see it for yourself. Housemarque says that the scoring system has a lot of depth and secrets to it, and that the replays will help people figure it out in-game, rather than forcing them to scour the internet.

Beyond replays, there will be competitive seasons where you can earn Season Coins (which sound like currency for cosmetic stuff), experience points and ranks over weeks or months. Sometimes the seasons will feature specific set of challenges. From the blog entry, it sounds like perhaps one season could boost the game's speed while a subsequent one might give enemies "revenge bullets," which just sound terrifying.

"Nex Machina had been structured so that all of the defining parameters of gameplay are listed in these so-called game rules, which then will be mixed and matched to create slightly different game experiences," Housemarque's Mikael Haveri writes.

We've seen (and played) a few early sections of the game and came away impressed. "Throughout my playthrough, I felt like every decision mattered," Engadget's Aaron Souppouris wrote last year. "If I went too long without shooting someone, a rage meter rapidly filled up, highlighting my inadequacies. If it fills up, the enemies will get mad -- they want you to try and kill them."

Imagine that running at double speed, or Housemarque pulling all sorts of levers it hasn't discussed yet, altering gameplay in ways you didn't know were possible. And then think about how you'll be able to score bragging rights with video replays tied to your spot on the leaderboards, and a fraction of the depth starts to reveal itself.

Given how strong this year has already been for games -- especially this spring -- Housemarque's upcoming death machine has us looking forward to the cruel summer. Want to take it for a spin? There's a closed beta on PC starting next week. Your rig not up to specs? Your local Best Buy or GameStop should have a demo running on PS4 kiosks.

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