Posted: July 12, 2014
Megabyte Punch comes within inches of being a truly great game. It takes a working formula and overhauls it with loads of customization, while cutting out unneeded mechanics. This creates a fast-paced fighting game with a fun adventure game stacked on top. Unfortunately, the lack of ability to create your own custom matchups as well as the lack of online multiplayer drags the game down to being merely "really good".
The meat of the game revolves around exploring levels, destroying enemies, and taking their broken parts as your own. The game uses a Super Smash Bros. style damage system, where the more damage a character has, the further an attack will send them flying. Non-boss adversaries can be destroyed by bashing them against a wall at high enough velocities, while bosses are fought in a classic Sumo-wrestling slugfest.
The game is much more fast-paced than Super Smash Bros. and actively encourages building combos; A skill you'll need to master if you want to defeat bosses or win the tournament. As an aside, smacking an enemy hard enough to send them destructively cratering through the terrain is extremely
Fallen enemies will drop either currency or one of their body parts, which you can install on your own character. Each part has a different ability attatched to it, ranging from increasing the number of double jumps you have to giving you a chaingun for an arm. You can have drills attatched to all of your limbs, allowing you to tear through destructable blocks with ease... or you can equip a bunch of parts that increase your damage output, turning you into a close-range terror. It's even possible to build a perfect replica of every humanoid character in the game - even the shopkeeper and the final boss!
The presentation uses chunky 3D models and colorful if not cliche environments - the overrall presentation manages to evoke some level of nostalgia without looking like a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ NES game. More people need to figure out that this is possible.
The soundtrack is similarilly modern-nostalgic, combining the composition of chiptune music with modern synthesizers and drumkits. While I do feel that some of the level themes are a bit too cliche for their own good (looking at you, Ancient Tech Ruins) the overall soundtrack is pretty catchy, and in some cases, pretty hype too.
Now, as with any good game, Megabyte Punch has some serious flaws. Firstly, finding some rare parts doesn't involve "finding" them so much as going through the same level over and over again until you randomly encounter a version of the enemy carrying that part. I must have played through Frostbyte Deep five times before one of the enemies decided to spawn with the Frostbyte Leg part. Additionally, while the game does tell you that certain rare parts can only be won in the tournament, it does not tell you that certain postgame parts can only be found in the shop... the shop which only carries duplicates of parts you already have 99% of the time.
Another flaw with the game is the predictability of the AI. It's unfair to expect AAA-level brilliance from a game made by two guys, but the fact that I can repeatedly
spam the Submachine Gun until the enemy shields, break said shield, and then KO them with a tornado kick without fail is a bit... disappointing. Additionally, the boss opponents become easilly confused when faced with more than one player character, rendering them unable to decide who to attack. And any enemy with a plasma cannon will annoyingly spam projectiles.
All of these flaws are forgiveable. The game was made by two programmers and one composer, give them a break. However, there is ONE flaw with this game that I absolutely do not understand: there is no online multiplayer in Megabyte Punch.
The official reason for this is that neither of the programmers had any prior knowledge of netcode and they didn't want to incorporate a flawed feature, so they left it out entirely instead. As far as co-op adventure mode or random matchmaking goes, this seems like a rational desicion. But can't I at least play peer-to-peer versus mode with a friend? I want to see what kind of character they've built, and I want to see how they fight, but I can't. For a PC exclusive fighting game, this is completely absurd.
Despite the glaring flaws in the game's design, however, I still had a crapload of fun with Megabyte Punch. The game's customization and two singleplayer game modes add a ton of replay value to the game, especially if you like to experiment with building new characters. If you're a fan of Super Smash Bros. style fighting, Cave Story style exploration, and Custom Robo style character building, I seriously suggest you play this game.
Oh yeah, and when the wise old robot tells you to seek out Three Flowers, keep in mind that they're stacked vertically. Now go kick some walking robo-heads!