Though it boasts high replay value and great looking graphics, Meganoid (2017) is far from perfect.
Orange Pixel's Meganoid (2017) is essentially a remake of its original title Meganoid that came out several years ago. While the game does a great job at delivering a challenging and fast-paced platformer, it fails to provide smooth and accessible gameplay for all players.
Story & Setting
Having a limited story or even no story at all is pretty common in platformers, and I wasn't expecting much different in Meganoid (2017). Now, full disclosure, I didn't get very far in the game (more on that later), which means it's possible the story could be flushed out if you make it further than I did.
When you first load up the game, you are greeted with some text on the screen that explains you have been summoned to fix a problem that lies deep within the titular spaceship called the Meganoid. Without much further explanation — such as what the problem could be — you're sent into the decks below to fend for yourself.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first, on-screen controls for platformers are typically pretty bad, and unfortunately, Meganoid (2017) follows suit.
"The default position and size for the on-screen buttons are absolutely atrocious."
The default position and size of the on-screen buttons are absolutely atrocious. I can't imagine how anyone could play the game in that configuration. Even though you can adjust the size and placement of the buttons, I still had a hard time hitting the right spot. I tried making the controls as large as I could and moving them, around to a few different places on the screen, but regardless of how much I modified them, it seemed like the touch-zones were still too small to give me proper feedback.
All hope isn't lost when it comes to controls though as the game is Mfi controller compatible, so if you have one of those kicking around, I strongly suggest you use it. Without an external controller, be prepared for lots of frustration as you will undoubtedly press the wrong button, or miss the buttons touch-zone entirely on numerous occasions. Rant over.
The gameplay itself is rather quite simple. You need to delve deeper into the ship, while avoiding enemies and collecting items and power-ups, to find the teleporter pad to advance to the next level.
The items you find to help you along your way can do a wide variety of various tasks. Some items are weapons meant to help you defeat enemies, while other items are key cards that let you hack into computers and increase the number of lives you have. What's really cool about Meganoid (2017) is you don't have to collect any items if you don't want. You can just try the strategy of just trying to find the exit to the next level as quickly as possible. This makes the game more appealing to a wider group of gamers. While I would consider myself a collect-it-all type of person, I loved the idea that I didn't feel like I had to collect everything to get further in the game.
The good news is the rogue-like nature of the game makes Meganoid (2017) stay fresh. You'll never find the same power-ups and items in the same spot, which means you'll always have to find a new way of getting places, avoiding enemies, and reaching the next level.
As you progress through the procedurally-generated levels of Meganoid (2017), it becomes increasingly apparent that timing is everything. Jump a second too soon? Game Over. Hesitate to move for a second? Game Over. I got used to seeing the Game over screen more times than I would see the You Died screen in Dark Souls, and if you have ever played Dark Souls, you know that's saying something.
"I got used to seeing the Game Over screen more times than I would see the You Died screen in Dark Souls."
Super-challenging iOS platformers aren't uncommon — remember Star Knight — but the challenge level in Meganoid (2017) is through the roof, in fact, I would even say it borders on insane. Gamers who love a challenge will be thrilled to finally get their hands on a game that matches their skill level; however, casual gamers or less skilled players may find themselves frustrated with the game way more than they are enjoying it.
Design & Sound
If you're a fan of the 16-bit graphics that you were used to seeing on the classic consoles of the past — Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis to name a couple — you'll really dig the visual aspects of Meganoid (2017).
"Everything looks like it was ripped out of the early 90s in the best possible way."
Orange Pixel knocked it out of the park making this game look and feel like an old-school platformer, and looks gorgeous and retro. To the tiny sprites that populate the screen, to the HUD in the corner, everything looks like it was ripped out of the early 90s in the best possible way.
The soundtrack is designed to be more of an ambient soundscape more than anything, and it fades into the background filling its intended purpose. The sound effects are a little more annoying they I would prefer in my games. There is this one sound effect, in particular, that sounds like to a stock zombie growl that plays every several seconds, even when there is no discernible source. Now, I will say this probably bothered me a little more than it should have, but since it caused me to play the game on silent mode more often than not, I figured it was important to mention.
- Great retro graphics
- High replayability
- Super challenging
- Finicky controls
- Annoying sound effects
- Super challenging
Meganoid (2017) is a bit of a polarizing game because of its challenge level and on-screen control issues.
There is a lot to like about Meganoid (2017). It's a smooth-running, fast-paced, beautifully-retro looking platformer that provides a tough challenge that some gamers will appreciate. The rogue-like gameplay means you can replay the game a lot and never get bored. If any of this sounds appealing to you, Meganoid (2017) could be a great game for you.
Of course, if you're worried about the clunky controls on top of the challenge as mentioned earlier the game brings, I wouldn't blame you for staying clear.
Bottom line: Meganoid (2017) is a perfectly serviceable platformer that can be a lot of fun, but isn't groundbreaking in any way. Whether it's worth the $4.99 download price is a descision best left up to you.
What do you think?
I'd love to hear your opinion on Meganoid (2017)! Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter!