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Megabyte Punch

Score: 90%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Reptile Games
Developer: Reptile Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

When I was young, one of my favorite toy series was Jace and the Wheeled Warriors. Released in the early 80ís, the series included vehicles with interchangeable parts, offering different looks for the vehicles and, in my young mind, new capabilities. Iím certain this, along with my life-long love of LEGO and other customizable toys, like Centurions, fueled my love of customization, especially in video games.

Megabyte Punch, from indie developer Reptile Games, is a virtual summary of everything I liked as a kid. It combines some of the best elements of 80ís-era 2D side-scrollers with the ability to completely customize your character, literally opening up new options for combat and level exploration.

I immediately fell in love with Megabyte Punchís presentation. The artstyle is composed primarily of flat polygons that manage to give off an "old school" visual vibe. Nothing is incredibly detailed, yet thereís just enough detail present to be visually appealing. The gameís soundtrack further enhances this feel, offering a warm, yet synthetic vibe.


Megabyte Punch is best described as a mash-up of Mega Man and Nintendoís Custom Robo series, though I would also add Metroid to the list of inspirations. Though there are a few Mega Man-like aspects, mainly taking powers from other robots, in practice it plays out more like Metroid, especially when it comes to level design.

The general setup places you in the role of Megac, one member of a race of robots (also called Megac) summoned by the Heartcore to protect your village from the advances of an evil empire and a rival group of Megac. While there are a few story-based dialogue moments, story largely feels secondary and really just a reason to push you from location to location.

Levels branch off of a core hub level. Both the hub and game levels worlds are, for better or worse, reminiscent of the original Metroid. Exploration is one of my absolute favorite gameplay elements, so I enjoyed it, though it can feel aimless. Though I was usually able to find my location (hint: Always go right), it wasnít without needing to retrace my steps. As beautiful as the game is, it could do a better job of visually leading you through areas to reach specific locations.

To Megabyte Punchís credit, exploration is usually rewarded, either with better parts or all-important "bits," which accumulate towards extra lives.

Gameplay largely involves exploring levels to reach the end, but it also includes salvaging spare parts from enemies to augment your exploration and combat skills. Thereís around 150 parts to discover, opening the door to countless combinations. New parts also feed into the combat system, which is very similar to Smash Bros.. Normal attacks are usually enough to take out weaker enemies, though some require special tactics. In some cases, you need to use special attacks, which work like charge attacks in Smash Bros.. For example, you can slide kick an enemy into the air then follow up with another attack, juggling them around the level.

Normal combat only provides a small-scale view of how combat really works. It opens up when faced with numerous enemies or sub-bosses, though it really comes into full form during boss fights. These play out exactly like a match in Smash Bros.. Each boss has a set of lives that you must deplete by knocking them off a floating battleground. In order to knock them off, however, you need to damage them. More damage means a better chance of knocking them for further distances.

Local multiplayer is available, though I wasnít able to play around with it much. A Tournament Mode is also available. Here, you fight a series of bosses in a tournament format to win parts. Itís a cool mode, but super challenging.


If Megabyte Punch has any major flaws, it involves boss fights. Bosses are not above using ultra-cheap tactics. Not to say they canít be defeated, but it was usually a result of sheer luck rather than skill (or, at least it always felt that way). Bosses do follow patterns, so with enough repeated matches under your belt, youíll figure things out, but the road to that point is incredibly frustrating if youíre not blessed with patience.

New parts, or combinations of parts, can help dull the edge, though only in the sense that you know your robotís capabilities. As far as I can tell, no parts proved super-effective against certain robots, which is why I back away from Mega Man comparisons. I could be wrong, but in normal play it wasnít readily apparent.

Outside boss fights, gameplay is well done. Fights arenít incredibly hard, though you do have to learn how to approach certain situations. Most of my early deaths were related to either underestimating a swarm of enemies or not understanding an environmental threat (like bombs embedded in walls). Exploration can pose a few issues, though mostly in the way of lost time.

Game Mechanics:

Part upgrades are acquired by defeating normal enemies or by toppling bosses. Parts acquired by defeating bosses are usually the more desired; theyíre powerful and usually feature some sort of added bonus power, unlocking some of the gameís Metroid-flavored exploration. The more common parts gained from defeating normal enemies offer some neat upgrades as well, and mixing and matching parts is generally encouraged.

When I first started, I spent a lot of time fretting over which parts to swap out. Doing so also added an insane amount of stress since I didnít want to drop a part only to find out I needed it later. While there are times where one part is handier than another, I rarely found myself in a predicament where I absolutely had to have a common part. There are, however, places where a certain boss part is absolutely needed, though these areas are obvious and story-based. Some of the level design might be a little messy, but Iíve yet to run into a dead end, so maybe there is a logic to the maze-like madness.

Parts are equipped to all major body parts (head, arms, legs, chest, shouldersÖ). It is crazy to see the number of combinations available. Arm and leg attachments augment your normal attacks (punch, kick) and unlock special attacks and abilities. Both are mapped to combinations of the D-pad and Special Attack button. You can aim attacks in any direction, which works incredibly well once you get the hang of activating an attack with the D-pad, then aiming it. Mastery, thankfully, doesnít take long. The setup does, however, make playing with a controller a must.

Combat is a lot of fun and super fast. It is also different depending on which parts you choose to equip. You can customize for more power-based, ground attacks, equip some long-range blasters, or a series of quick attacks. As previously mentioned, the system encourages you to mix-and-match and find a setup that works for you.

Megabyte Punch is an outright fun title and I canít recommend it enough. It has certainly earned my vote on Steam Greenlight and I encourage anyone who is a fan of "old school" side-scrollers or Smash Bros. to give it a try.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz; Ram: 2 GB; Graphics: 256 MB; Hard disk: 300MB; OS: Windows XP/Vista/7

Test System:

Asus Q400A-BHI7N03; Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel 4000 video adapter, Windows 8; Xbox 360 wired controller

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