Release Date: August 6, 2013
Developer: Reptile Games
Producer: Reptile Games
Genre: Sidescrolling Platformer, Brawler
In a lot of my gaming reviews these days, I usually like to start out by making some sort of comparison to another game most people would already know and love, so everyone can immediately get on the same page about what kind of experience this is going to be. But this time around, Reptile Games has pretty much done my job for me, in describing their latest game Megabyte Punch as an awesome combination of Super Smash Bros., Mega Man, and even a healthy dose of Custom Robo thrown in there as well. But while this amalgam of games is completely spot-on for the type of title that Megabyte Punch actually turns out to be, are these different gameplay components able to work in the blocky robotic context that this robot fighter puts us in?
The first thing you’ll notice about Megabyte Punch is that the in-game physics are very heavy to the touch, so to speak: so much so that when you smack an enemy robot in the face, you can actually FEEL like you’re really smacking him in real life, with a slight pause of anticipation before the meaty THWACK of robot fist to robot face resonates and sends your robo adversary flying. However, at the same time these certain gameplay mechanics can wind up making the fighting segments seem a bit rigid, as your robot’s chunky movements are less than ideal for the fast-paced, Super Smash Bros.-styled bouts that the heart of Megabyte Punch’s multiplayer component really banks on.
After a brief introductory level which teaches you everything you’ll need to know to progress in the game, from jumping through ceilings to , you’ll wind up in Megabyte Punch’s hub world of sorts: an idyllic cubic village covered in greenery, and that instantly reminded me of the waterside village you start out in at the beginning of Polytron’s Fez. The hub world serves a number of purposes, most notably in housing the portals to each proceeding level, but there’s also lots of houses to enter and friendly robots to interactive with as well. The different level designs are surprisingly well done, with multiple pathways to travers, lots of secret areas to be found in every tiny nook and cranny, and a handful of optional collectables to snag which add new color packs to refurbish your robot fighter.
Customizing your robot with new gear and better abilities is one of the biggest selling points here in Megabyte Punch, although for some reason it just never really managed to catch on with me. I think a lot of this has to do with the simplistic, though ultimately too-vague interface which you’ll need to navigate in order to switch out the different pieces on your robot, from head and torso, to hands and feet. But for what it’s worth, I still managed to progress pretty far in the game by simply bypassing the customization component entirely, except for when I needed to switch in a more powerful weapon. And for completionist gamers like me, it would have been nice to have a better inventory screen, so I could more easily keep track of all the optional collectables I still had left to find.
Everything about the game’s presentation just screams Nintendo 64 to me, from the somewhat blocky character designs, to the bright and sunny environments that almost seem to be laid out on geographical grids. I think it’s because of this that I tend to overlook to real lack of attention to detail in most of the backgrounds, or the occasional blurry texture that weeds its way in: no one really cared about those kinds of things on the Nintendo 64 because we were all just having way too much fun with the gameplay, and the same exact mindset should be wholeheartedly applied here to Megabyte Punch. But still though, there’s not a lot that’s truly memorable about the overall experience once everything is said and done. The robots in particular are nothing special to look at, masked only by the fact that you can change up their appearances at will into other, equally forgettable combinations of different parts and color schemes.
The story mode itself is pretty generous in length, with 6 visually different levels, 3 fairly long stages in each, and mammoth boss fights to put your real punching skills to the test. But playing through Megabyte Punch’s story mode is really just a means to an end, as instead of actually wanting to see the conclusion of the game’s thinly-veiled story, you’ll really want to stock up on all of the rarest robot parts you can muster so you can duke it out with up to three friends in the platformer’s crowning achievement: a no-holds-barred versus mode, where players can compete in different tournaments to earn the absolute rarest of robot parts. The big difference between Megabyte Punch and full-on brawlers like Super Smash Bros. (which the versus game mode invokes in spades) is that this game features completely destructible environments, which only adds to the many creative ways that you can make your friend’s robot eat your oil, like throwing them through a tiny grid of rocks on the side of a cliff face.
Reading this back, it’s true that my wavering thoughts about Megabyte Punch reflect the fact that I’m still a little bit on the fence about this one: much like the platforming and fighting segments in the game constantly seem to be vying back and forth for the more dominant position of gameplay control. But at the end of the day, if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted brawler with some pretty important gaming influences that really shine through in the actual gameplay, then Megabyte Punch is a nice and fun-filled way to pass your time. Although a little too robotic and clunky in some parts for my taste, the game still has a lot of heart, and if anything, it’ll give you brawling fanatics a very good reason to take a break from Super Smash Bros. to try out something new that would have been right at home next to the original SSB release on the N64.
Pros and cons:
+ SSB meets Mega Man
+ Nice level designs
– Menu interfaces are lacking
– A bit bland in some parts
Story – 7/10
Gameplay – 8/10
Graphics – 7/10
Soundtrack – 8/10
Multiplayer – 8/10
Replayability – 7/10
Den of Geek rating – 7.5/10