Meganoid 2017 Review: Mega-Annoyed

The Good

A great looking retro inspired style

Somewhat randomized levels add to replayability

The Bad

Controls need to be much smoother for a game that demands this level of precision

Inconsistent platforming rules

It’s been so long since I’ve played the original Meganoid that I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new 2017 iteration. It looks a little like Metroid in the screenshots, doesn’t it? Also there’s the name. But no, it’s not Metroid, and that’s fine. Frankly, I was silly for thinking that in the first place. Meganoid is its own thing, and that’s totally fine!

The controls, however, are anything but.

Meganoid 2017 tasks you with traversing the depths of the massive titular space vessel while gathering up various bits and bobs to spend at terminals in order to get more useful stuff. Level layouts are random, if you die you start from the beginning, and there are traps and enemies everywhere. You can use explosives to blast holes in the environment to create shortcuts or remove obstacles, and you need to make your way down in order to find the exit. The randomized and somewhat roguelike structure makes it quite replayable, too. I kind of don’t want to make another comparison because I’ve already brought up Metroid, but I also kind of have to: it’s basically sci-fi themed Spelunky.

All of this is fine — even good — as far as I’m concerned. Meganoid 2017 also looks really nice with its retro-inspired visuals and colorful death lasers and so on. It also has a somewhat cheeky sense of humor that I can totally get behind, although there are some fairly big grammatical errors to be found. Still, it looks good and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is great as far as I’m concerned.

The primary issue I have with Meganoid 2017 is that the controls have no wiggle room when it comes to tapping buttons. I am, of course, talking about deadzones. Granted it’s not as bad as other games I’ve played where the second your finger loses contact with the virtual buttons they cease their function, but it does have the issue where the buttons will not activate unless you tap at least one of the icon’s pixels. Going into the options and making the buttons bigger helps somewhat, but it’s still pretty easy to end up missing a tap by millimeters and getting hit/blasted/spiked/etc as a result.

Another bizarre problem is that the game doesn’t seem to follow its own rules consistently. Sometimes you can do a ledge grab (which I’m super-glad to have as a feature, by the way) and immediately catapult up to the platform, but other times you have to hold the jump button to pull yourself up. Sometimes you can jump up through small platforms from underneath, but other times you’ll simply bounce off the bottom. There are also some platforms that look very similar to each other but function differently — namely the ones that collapse when you touch them and the ones that are super solid. Both are basically just brown rectangles with rough visual texture on my phone’s screen, and telling them apart is a lot tougher than you’d think. It’s even worse when you’re trying to rush and can’t take the time to sit and really analyze the details.

For what it is, Meganoid 2017 is fine if you can get past the control irritations and weirdly spontaneous platforming rule changeups. There’s a fun game here, I can see it. But I so rarely get to experience it with everything being the way it is. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that an update takes care of the button issue if nothing else. But hey, if none of that is an issue for you, then more power to you. We hope you can find the fun that we keep coming so close to.

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