Macbat 64 was released on Steam back in 2017, but it certainly feels more at home on the Switch. Largely as it draws inspiration from classic Nintendo 64 titles including – but not limited to – Banjo Kazooie, Yoshi’s Story, and Mischief Makers.
So straight off the bat (sorry) you’ll probably know if this game is for you. Because Macbat 64 doesn’t so much wear its influences on its sleeves as much as parades them down a runway.
The game has deliberately pared down blurry 3D visuals and a 4:3 aspect ratio. You’ll either find this charming or annoying.
Ultimately the main draw of Macbat 64 is how it pays tribute to older games though, and in that regard it is largely successful.
In terms of gameplay you play as Macbat, a bat who can jump up and keep climbing into the sky for a certain amount of time. And that’s the only move you have – there’s no combat here, as most of your adventure revolves around basic fetch quests.
Levels are also tiny, and usually involve very basic puzzles or mini games. Some of these are better than others – there’s a ropey kart racing segment for instance, but then there’s also a clever puzzle where you to manoeuvre a shadow clone of yourself into the correct spots on an overhead maze.
Generally you don’t have to tackle anything too taxing however, and death is almost impossible throughout large swathes of the main campaign.
So in terms of gameplay it’s a long way off emulating the success of Banjo Kazooie – a game which has unfairly been labelled as a collect-em-up, but in reality had a series of tightly designed worlds (its sequel Banjo Tooie is another matter entirely).
Where it does match up is its force of personality, and this is where Macbat 64 ultimately shines. There’s a range of characters to meet and they usually have something amusing to say. It feels very much like a spin off from the original Banjo Kazooie games in terms of tone.
There’s a good variety in the levels too, with a good helping of videogame and film parody elements thrown in. The repetitive and basic gameplay never becomes too wearying either, because this is a short game – in fact it only took us an hour to see almost everything it had to offer.
What makes this short lifespan easier to accept is the price though. At only £1.79/$1.99 it’s easy to treat Macbat 64 as a fleeting fancy rather than a meaty adventure – and on that level it works superbly.
For anyone who still holds fond memories of the early days of 3D platformers this is an almost essential purchase.