Saturday, 29 March 2014

Megabyte Punch: Game Design Review

Megabyte Punch is an action game inspired by Super Smash Bros and Megaman with a graphical style of a Nintendo 64 game. Its the first game by a new indie studio Reptile games. There are several modes to the game. A single player campaign, a challenge mode and multiplayer modes.

What I liked:

Combat and bounce mechanics- As an action brawler Megabyte Punch is a great game. The way the robots move, fight, fly, punch, jump and use special moves are spot and feel very responsive. I can't think of a better game except Super Smash Bros itself with such great handling.

Like Super Smash Bros, you have to knock the opponent off screen to win a match and just like in Super Smash Bros, as a robot takes damage, the robot becomes lighter/bouncier. So just because you're taking damage doesn't mean you can't fight back, it just means you have to be careful not get knocked out of the arena.

Customisation and a wide of variety of parts- Once you've earned or collected arts in the game, you can then swap parts on your robot giving them new abilities or upgrades. You can only up to a maximum number of 3 active skills helping balance the game. And there are plenty of upgrades and weapons ranging from the fairly normal as the sniper rifle, to the more exotic such as teleportation.

Graphics- The block like graphics of the game are great and perfectly fit the game giving it a unique retro feel.

Destructibility- Parts of the levels and multiplayer maps can be destroyed by explosives or by attacking them. It's a good way of expanding the level as you play.


Swapping and parts interface is terrible- The menu to do this is just plain terrible. Rather than being unlocked, parts you find are stored individually. For example, if you find two of the same leg parts you have to manually transfer them from your parts vault into your inventory and then equip them individually. It's a clumsy system that does nothing for the game.

Single player levels lack variety- As a multiplayer combat game, this game is awesome. As a single player game, it feels slightly anaemic in my opinion especially when you have to play through the single player to unlock parts in the multiplayer.

The levels feel boring and repetitive after a while and every couple of screens, you get locked into a room and have to fight some more robots. At the end of the every area, you fight a boss character one on one just like you would in a multiplayer game. There's nothing that you haven't really seen after the first few are.

There is some exploration but its mostly moving from left to right. The game really should be 'proper' Metroidvania style game rather than the current linear levels.

Lack of collectible radar and list- A large part of the game is about picking up robot parts after defeating enemy robots and collecting colour capsules. However the game doesn't tell you if you've collected all the possible parts and capsules in the area. Nor does it provide you with a list of what you've collected so you have no idea of just what you're missing.

Lack of enemy variety and bosses- Despite all the parts as mentioned there's a distinct lack of variety and boss creativity. I was looking forward to some creative large enemy units and buildings to fight like you would see in games like Megaman. The bosses (with the exception of the last boss) are all your standard robots with special parts which you get to keep after you defeat them.

I like Megabyte Punch, the combat is extremely solid and the ability to customise and create your robots is brilliant, but the other parts like the interface and single level design really need to be addressed. I only hope that the developers develop a second game to address the concerns. If they do, I'm sure we'll have a real classic on our hands.

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