If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my time playing video games, it’s that gamers like familiarity and repetition, but enough innovation to keep games interesting. Megabyte Punch understands this, and takes the best ideas from games, fusing them together in a very curious platforming brawler. In this adoption of familiar ideas however, spend enough time with the game and it too comes across as repetitive. It is currently being developed by the team at Reptile Games, a Dutch studio comprised of three aspiring individuals.
Coming into the game with my knowledge that it is primarily a fighting game, I plugged in my Logitech Dual Action, and prepared to begin my traditional route of bunny-hopping and button-mashing. To my dismay however, I discovered that perhaps due to the age of said gamepad it was not supported, relegating my experience to the keyboard only.
Being my first experience with a PC fighting game, it is clear why a gamepad would be preferable. With the number of commands and awkward layout of the keyboard itself proving to be a rather challenging dance with my fingers. You move your character with the WASD keys, opening inventory with the E key, punching with the N key, and jumping with the space bar. Because of the lack of a usable gamepad and thus, multiple players, I was confined to the single player only.
The particular hook that makes the game stand out from being an otherwise bland fighting game is in defeating enemies, you can collect their parts and switch them out for yours. This gives yourself new abilities and strengths on the fly, like a much more customizable Mega Man. Abilities are switched between using the 1-4 keys and activated with the M key which should not be too complicated in theory. However, because of how consistently you must move to avoid damage, switching abilities doesn’t happen until you’re safely out of combat.
Before continuing onto the combat, there is a major flaw that stems from this sort of “speed customization.” In switching out your parts, you will notice a number of different icons, each presumably with their own effect. The only problem is that it’s never explained properly what the icons mean, if anything at all. Switching out your default legs for a pair of supposedly faster ones works, but there’s no real way for you to know if the change actually occurred. Do you get faster? Likely so, but at the very least, a simple bar graph with corresponding stats would be nice. For example, certain shoulder parts or different legs will have an icon that has a plus symbol next to an up arrow. I took it to mean that you would get faster or jump higher, but I have no way of knowing if these suspicions are correct.
Combat itself is based very heavily on the Super Smash Brothers style with repeated punches stacking damage onto the enemies, until enough damage is accumulated to the point where they ricochet off the walls and explode. Because of the delay in between when you use an ability and when it actually occurs, many enemies in close-quarters will simply counter you. This leaves the player to use abilities such as a blaster or machine gun at range if possible, and hammering down on the basic punch when they come in close. The mechanics of the combat, however basic, do work well in theory. Though while not particularly noticeable against your basic enemies, with the bosses however, well timed jumps and ability uses become paramount in achieving victory. As the bosses will deal more damage and are on the whole, smarter.
The game does have the tendency to get repetitive. Something that successful games do, such as Cave Story+ or any of the traditional Mega Man title is keeping you in the same stage for extended periods of time. The art is both well-detailed and varies enough to keep it interesting. Megabyte Punch on the other hand, has none of this. The color palette is bland across the different stages, and with each area having three different levels, I found myself racing through and avoiding combat altogether. With the lack of a map, you will inevitably end up wandering around the stages in your quest to find the door leading to the next level or boss. Whereas a game such as Cave Story+ will reward you for exploration of side paths with upgrades and more health, in Megabyte Punch you are ‘rewarded’ with more combat and “bits,” whose purpose is never explained.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
With the current Alpha offering very little in the way of actual game content, you’re best off spending the asking price of $7.50 on another title until further progress in development has been made.
Megabyte Punch Technical Summary:
- Time Played: 5 Hours
- Widescreen Support: Yes
- 5.1 Audio Support: No
- Bugs/Crashes Encountered: Did not recognize my gamepad
- Control Scheme: KB/M, Gamepads
- DRM: None
- System Specs: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.2 Ghz, 4 GB RAM, Intel Mobile Video
- Game Acquisition Method: Review Copy
- Availability: Desura, Indievania
- Demo: Yes
- Version : Alpha Update 2
Editor’s Note: We will be more than happy to offer our thoughts on future releases of Megabyte Punch as they become available.