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Mevo and the Groove Riders

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Big Fish Games
Developer: Red Rocket Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Rhythm/ Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:

Mevo & the Groove Riders is a game I hadn't heard of until it landed in our weekly "pile o' games" for review. Based on the title, I was expecting some sort of lame tie-in for a kid's show my 2-year old pop culture touchstone hasn't discovered yet (still hooked on Dora). After looking at a few screens and gameplay movies, I stumbled upon an amazingly fun and original game.

Silence is bad. Or, that's what Mevo would have you believe. Before getting into the nuts and bolts of presentation, it's important to understand the underlying mechanics. Screenshots would lead you to believe Mevo is a typical run-n-jump platformer, but it has more in common with DDR or Guitar Hero. As Mevo navigates levels, he hits arrows that you need to match; keep the rhythm going and Mevo keeps moving.

That said, music is incredibly important to the underlying mechanics. There's a basic background tune playing throughout the level, but this acts as a metronome for the gameplay elements. The beats don't merge perfectly with the background music, however, so you're left to guess how the techno-beats should sound. Still, the better you do, the better the music sounds - so if the soundtrack sucks, it's your fault.

Mevo's visuals are just as refreshing as its gameplay. It's great to play as a character that isn't bald, angst-ridden or encased in power armor. Mevo is a fun character to watch as he jumps around the screen and it gets better the deeper you get in the game. As you go through the game, Mevo can learn new dance styles and earn costumes that you can mix-and-match to create your own character. Levels are just as much fun and manage give you a lot to look at without becoming distracting.


Getting back to the gameplay, Mevo & the Groove Riders isn't a traditional platformer, but a rhythm game. After waking up on a quiet island, Mevo is given the task of traveling the world to reunite the Groove Riders, a band that can return funk to the land and save the universe. It's not the deepest of tales, but offers a premise that fits the game and allows for some cool narrative landscapes. Levels include the aforementioned island, jungles and the heart of a wormhole.

The core gameplay revolves around matching button-presses as Mevo touches them. There are only two button presses (left and right), but the combination of trying to keep up with the music beats and some pretty tricky combos keeps things entertaining. Early on, the combos are simple, though later in the game they require quick fingers. Some combos will also unlock new paths through the level, unlocking higher scoring opportunities and other unlockable items.

Once you complete a level, you can return and attempt to earn Gold and Diamond records. Chasing records adds challenge and some much-needed replay value. Earning records is like trying to earn Achievements or Trophies and require a specific set of requirements that differ from level-to-level. Most involve specific scores, though others hinge on combos.


If you're not rhythmically inclined, Mevo & the Groove Riders is not for you. Through the first few levels, it is easy to dismiss the game as a cutesy-pie cakewalk. I was easily able to earn Gold and Diamond records in the first five levels. This changes once the ultra-hard combos hit. Most notes are evenly spaced out, but combos mash the two icons together incredibly close, so you need to be quick. It takes a lot of practice, so expect multiple replays of levels as you learn the beats. However, levels are usually pretty short and easy to jump back into.

Unlockable items figure heavily into the overall difficulty. You aren't required to go after additional records, though you have to earn at least one Diamond to make it to the next section of levels (there are five sections total). This never became an issue, but did seem a little odd. Some outfits offer bonus abilities, like automatic combos.

Game Mechanics:

Mevo & the Groove Riders' gameplay revolves around two button presses, though which two buttons you chose is up to you. The game defaults to the two (Shift) buttons or (Space) and (Enter), though you can choose nearly any combination you want. Since I was playing on my laptop, I went for the (Left) and (Right) mouse buttons on my touchpad. The setup worked great and this was the first time I can remember liking their placement on my computer.

No matter what two buttons you choose, make sure they are comfortable. Again, combos come quick and often, so constant awareness and quick fingers are mandatory. Some presses require you to hold notes for a specific length of time. This was the only time it felt like the controls weren't incredibly responsive. Even though it hit timing, the long holds wouldn't activate, cheesing me out of a few points and a combo reduction. It didn't happen often, but enough times that it was noticeable.

If anything, Mevo & the Groove Riders taught me to not judge a game by its title, no matter how childish it may seem. Take this lesson to heart and dance on over to Steam or Big Fish Game's website and give Mevo a shot.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP / Vista; 1.33 GHz or higher processor; 500 MB or more; 80 MB HDD space; DirectX 8.1 or higher

Test System:

Windows Vista; 1.6 GHz Dual-Core processor; 2 Gig RAM; DVD drive; 120 GB HDD; GeForce Go7600

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