Megabyte Punch: A Robot Wrecking Good Time
Robots have always been a fascination of mine. I guess they are, for most people? Medabots, Robot Jocks, Gundam, Virtual On, and Mega Man! Machinery with the ability to traverse landscapes and decimate enemies is always a fun time! I'm always on the lookout for some interesting twist on the mech genre, and Megabyte Punch was a great place to start.
Megabyte Punch is an action, side-scrolling, indie platformer developed and published by Reptile Games. It was released for Steam on October 15th, 2013.
The story follows a young robot, or Megac. Your goal is to help protect and liberate a Megac town against the Empire and the Khotep warlords.
As you travel through different environments, you battle other creatures to get their parts. Parts have their own powers and bonuses, like gun arms for a shoot ability or powerful hips for a devastating pelvic thrust attack. Then, using the abilities of your customized fighter, you can compete in the tournament or battle against other players in a destructible arena.
The game takes place in an computer world where you protect the Heartcore of your village against the likes of the Valk Empire and the dreaded Khoteps in 6 different levels with each 3 stages and a boss fight! -megabytepunch.reptile-games.com/
Ala the side scrolling mechanic, you have the ability to run, jump, and battle your way through stages. The main aspect of the game is swapping body parts. During your foray into the robotic world of Megabyte Punch, you encounter a whole host of electronic baddies. Defeating these robots yields parts that you can freely swap out, on your character. Each part has it's own ability and power, and can only be attached to a certain segment of the body.
There are parts for both arms, legs, hips, chest, shoulder, and head. Some parts grant extra strength, some allow you to throw a fire ball, blast machine gun bullets, create a drill, upper cut enemies, run faster, fly, or set bombs and virus explosives! There's a huge combination of artillery, so if you enjoy playing a heavy melee character, or a ranged fighter, you can upgrade your robot to your own specifications. There are 150 parts to collect. Kind of like the original Pokemon, but with weapons!
You can set up to four different abilities, for a variety of character combinations. You set them to specific directions: up, down, right, and neutral. When you press the direction, you need to push the Special Ability in order to trigger the move. I usually set firing to right, with moves that knocked opponent upward set to the up button, while down was set for other knock back techniques. Neutral was left for summoning little bots, or bombs. It was a very nice set up.
Battles are quick and deadly and there isn't a health bar. In it's place is a damage meter, with a percentage. The higher the percentage, the greater the knock back rate of your attacks. Think Smash Brothers. Once the percentage is high enough, a strike can knock the enemy away, and if they hit anything, they'll explode and drop money, or parts.
Bits are the currency in this robot paradise. You can find them in destroyed boxes, defeated enemies, or scattered through out the levels. During your time adventuring, if you find enough bits, you'll get an extra life. I think it's like 65 bits, or something, for another life? Right? Something like that. This comes in handy, because each time you enter a different level, you begin with 3 lives. Lives are denoted with an old school floppy disk. Very cool! It doesn't matter if you've exhausted your supply of floppy disks in the previous level, you always start with 3.
There are 6 levels in all, each with 3 stages. There are small mini bosses, denoted when doors seal you in. You must defeat all the enemy robots in order to progress, which reminded me of the gate that seals you into the Robot Master room, in the Mega Man series. At the end of every level is a boss stage. Usually, it's a one on one battle between you and the boss. But sometimes, you get a computer controlled NPC, while the Boss calls forth a few, or even a horde, of baddies to fight against you. Bosses, naturally have more power and damage percentage than standard enemies, and some of them are downright cheap!
They will wail on you for moments on end, raising your damage percentage, and knocking you out of the stage, Smash Bros. Style, before you even have a moment to strike a few critical blows. It's fast, challenging, and keeps you on your toes. The way you equip your bot can spell disaster or victory against some of the tougher boss battles.
In the main village, you also have a player Home. In the player home, there are three computer, or seat, looking things? They store everything you've gathers. The first one keeps spare parts, from every enemy you've encountered! When you exit a stage, all the items you have picked up thus far get transferred to your player home. This allows you to swap out every part you've ever found, for an endless string of combinations.
The next booth-computer-thing is Colorize. Colorize holds all the colors for your robot. Throughout your travels, you'll find color capsules, with various color schemes to change the overall look of your bot. They're usually really hard to find. The last computer is called Builds. The Builds computer allows you to save and load your robots, for future use.
The graphics are purposefully simple. Everything has a solid color palette. Geometric shapes, with almost no detail, make up the bulk of all of the environments. There are no curves, no smooth edges. Everything is blocky, with hard edges, and sharp corners.
Trees are sculpted, geometric forms, pipes jut from the side of buildings, there are giant propellers everywhere, and dark, blocked out masses loom in the background. Every stage also has it's own style and theme, which I thought was a really nice touch. You visit a sandy world, a dark graveyard, and even a stage made of ice, each with their own unique creatures and loot to be found.
Characters animate really well, and there are a lot of really nice effects, from gun blasts, to explosions, and bots exploding. There's a lot of movement and color.
Game play is solid and fun. The controls are really responsive, and battles are quick and satisfying. I had fun zipping through stages and beating enemy robots into the wall. With every piece that I found and equipped, I felt the sense of growing strength. Every combination of new weapons made me feel faster and more of a bad ass!
I love how they introduced certain elements to the levels, instead of making it all standard, industrial, futuristic, and robotic. There are trees, sand, snow, and grave yards! I appreciate the decision to try creating levels that weren't simply circuit boards, or some world you'd find on Cybertron or Reboot. There are also dragons, and worms, and skeletons! Very nice, and it was a welcome change to the standard robot worlds I've come to expect from this type of game.
Megabyte Punch is hard, but not too hard. I found myself sweating over some battles, especially during boss encounters. Most of the time, I survived, but just barely. You can't simply button mash your way to victory. You need to whittle down the enemy's percentage, dash, dodge, and finally beat them into the walls. It gets intense, and I never got board of fighting. Every boss was a new and intriguing challenge.
The story is actually pretty good. It isn't an over reaching epic, but it is interesting enough to keep you moving forward, and wondering how the events will eventually play out. I'm also a sucker for the type of story that has a group of high level enemies, all of which want to destroy you. Especially when that group seems pretty amazing, too. I'm looking at you, Grand Khoteps!
Which brings me to the robot designs. They're really nice. I expected this game to have a lot of generic robot types, but the developers did delve into some pretty unique ideas. I especially love the skeletons and, as I said, the Grand Khoteps. The Grand Khoteps are a group of high powered robots that have some pretty cool armor designs. One looks like a Grim Reaper, another like a Beetle, and they all have brilliant colors and shapes. Oh, the colors! I liked the bright, flashy colors of the robots, as well.
Split screen is a bit confusing, when you play locally. I played with my wife, and it was hard to concentrate on the screen, since there was so much going on, in each one. We kept losing track of our characters during our play through. It isn't terrible, but I think it would have been nice to have both characters show up in the same space, without the need of a split screen. At least during two player mode.
There are some cheap obstacles. These aren't necessarily a bad aspect, but they did lead to some serious frustration. There's a red mist that kills you in one hit. If you barely touch it, you're dead. No matter what percentage you're at. Poof. Gone. It's really cheap. There is a head piece that guards against it, but if you decide not to use it, or you don't have it, you're kind of screwed.
Later on, there are these red bumpers. If you touch them, they bump you back, and there are segments when they are all over the floor and walls. One mistake, and you're bouncing around, till you explode. And some of these are almost impossible to avoid! Okay, not impossible, if you're precise and patient. But patient, I am not. So it was me being a bit over zealous, and trying to Devil May Cry my way through the stage, but it did get annoying when I had 1 life, and I hit a bumper. Dead. Start over. This lead to me crying in the corner, screaming at the game, “I was at the Boss door!”
Also, speaking of cheap, some enemies can juggle and combo you to death. Seriously, they pulls off some cheap moves, and they just batter you relentlessly! Sometimes, it seemed like their weapons had a little more oomph, if you know what I mean? And these were normal enemies! I mean, I'd go from 0% to 80% in one go! Then one hit, and I'm flying off the screen, popping into oblivion. Once again, not game breaking, or even that bad, but it did add a bit to my rage meter.
Megabyte Punch is an interesting take on the fighting mech genre. I felt like, if Medabots, Smash Brothers, and Mega Man had a love child, Megabyte Punch would be that child. I mean that in a very good way! The controls are really responsive, designs are creative, and the story will keep you entertained. It's a great game, overall. If you like side-scrollers, robots, and some pretty nice customization, support the developers by purchasing a copy! It's available for on Steam for $14.99.