Meganoid review

Meganoid review

Mar 8, 2011

Meganoid is a punishing, classic-inspired, tougher than shoe-leather platformer that does everything it can to pound you into a bloody pulp, and you’ll come crawling back for more.
In Meganoid, aliens are invading, and the world needs a hero. Unfortunately, all they had available was you. Adonis DNA: do you have it?

Meganoid features retro graphics, music and gameplay meant to resemble classic, 8 and 16-bit era games. However, despite the old school feel, there are plenty of modern tricks to give the game extra depth.

The story is delivered through a series of cutscenes that play at the beginning of each of 4 main sections in the game. Each section is 10 stages long, giving you a total of 40 stages to run, dodge and double-jump your way through. The only problem with the story is that I have no idea how collecting diamonds is supposed to help you thwart an alien invasion. The story just feels tacked on.

Plot devices aside, collecting diamonds builds your score and adds at least one extra challenge to Meganoid so that you aren’t simply running for the exit in the quickest time possible. The diamonds are mostly in hard to reach places, hovering above enemies and spike pits. They also fall if you get close to them, so you’ll need to be fast enough to catch some of them before it’s too late. Another difficult aspect of collecting diamonds is that they tend to be hidden in the least likely of places. There are “false walls” throughout the game where you can walk through and will have to blindly navigate your way to find the diamonds. It’s not easy.

You’re also racing against a clock, trying to get to the exit before time runs out. What’s nice about these challenges is that once you’ve met one, it’s done. So, if you run through and get your par time in, you can go back and hunt for diamonds at your leisure, carefully timing jumps and searching for hiding places. You don’t really get anything for these challenges, but they unlock OpenFeint achievements — if you’re into that sort of thing.

The combat also adds a unique challenge in that you fight enemies by picking up crates and throwing them automatically when you get close enough. You don’t have control over when the crate gets thrown, which makes for some puzzling situations, later on.

Meganoid doesn’t have much of an ending. Once you pass the final stage, that’s it. However, considering that the game isn’t really done until you’ve completed every challenge, I don’t think it should count against Meganoid. Plenty of great games don’t have “real” endings.

I actually found the game to be a little too easy in places. What can I say? I have tiger blood in my veins, and my brain fires in a way that is, maybe, not from this particular terrestrial realm. However, it does ramp up as you progress, and there are still a few dirty tricks that pop up here and there to catch you off guard.

I’m giving Meganoid some pretty high marks, but I feel it deserves it. Highly recommended.

Meganoid review Rundown

8
Graphics/Sound - Wonderfully retro graphics and music with plenty of different colors and tricks going on in the background to add a lot of depth.
10
Game Controls - Completely rock solid, even in the tighter areas that required an extremely precise touch to pull off some insane tricks. Never found myself blaming the controls, ever.
10
Gameplay - Had me completely hooked. Once I started, I just couldn't stop. Some players might not like that you can't control the crate throwing function, but I thought it added extra challenge and kept the game simple.
8
Replay Value - Plenty of challenges to meet, and great use of OpenFeint to give players a reason to keep coming back.
9
Overall - More of this, please! It starts out a bit slow, a bit too easy, but the difficulty ramps up very smoothly. By the end of the game, your palms are sweaty and you aren't sure if you can go on. When you finally clear a level, you really feel like you achieved something. I feel like Meganoid sets an example for other Android games to follow.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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