Mekazoo is a fast paced platformer that has a lot of good ideas but unfortunately falls short. The gameplay is inspired from old classics like; Sonic the hedgehog, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Metroid. This is apparent in the animal robots you can play as. You start the game as an armidilio and can eventually play other animals including; a frog, wallaby, panda, and a pelican. The gameplay of each animal is vastly different from each other, which is a good and bad thing. While characters like the armidilio and frog feel polished and fun to play as other characters especially the wallaby seem to hinder the experience. The absolute best character in my opinion would be the armidilio. Its gameplay traits reminded me of the old classic sonic. Simple and easy controls with fast paced action.
The early level design also seemed to be influenced by the Sega genesis classic. Jumping to what is the worst character in my opinion of the game the wallaby, the wallaby has a wall jump mechanic that unfortunately doesn’t work all the time. It tries to borrow this gameplay element from games such as Super Metroid, a mechanic that worked much better in said game. In Super Metroid doing the wall jump was a fun and intuitive way to explore the environment and find secrets. Using this mechanic in the game could even potentially lead to interesting sequence breaks and better speed run times. In Mekazoo however, using the wall jump isn’t reliable. It can work great at times and fun to use but on some occasions the move doesn’t register properly which can potentially lead to your death in some levels.
Speaking of levels the level design in this game can be hit or miss. In some levels I had a lot of fun, the mechanics worked well, I didn’t experience any bugs or glitches. Some of the early levels reminded me of the Donkey Kong Country games and early Sonic titles. This played on my nostalgia and made the experience even better. That being said, there are levels with horrible design and game breaking bugs/glitches. The worst offender of the glitches occurred in a level just about half way through the game. The level had giant boulders that you had to run past and avoid. These boulder will appear after you break a wall to advance in the level. To avoid the boulder you need to transform into your armidilio form however doing this will sometimes make you clip through the floor making you fall to your death. This is especially frustrating if you are trying to collect the deathless run gears. Another bug I encountered occurred in the same level. When the boulder appears in the level it triggers a sound clip to play, that’s the normal part however, when I died and the game reloaded the last check point the boulder sound clip would continue to play. The boss levels of this game are fun and interesting, for instance, the wallaby boss level is designed to represent a pinball table. These levels are some of the best the game has to offer, they can give you a nice challenge and have interesting characters to fight.
The graphics are a nice mix of cartoony designs with bright neon light aesthetics. The character designs are lively and fun to watch on the screen. In some areas of the game you can enter a pod and customize the look of the character you play as too. You can make changes such as; changing the color of the neon glow, changing the base color of the character, and even the costume.
The music of this game is by far the best part. The tunes were catchy techno esq and complimented the levels in a great way. Most of the tracks were enjoyable and I never got tired of them, the only track in the game I didn’t like was on the level where you had to wall jump out of a volcano. That was the only time I had any problem with the music.
As for replay value I would say you will need to go through the games levels a couple of times if you want to get all the gears. The gears are collectables that unlock after achieving certain goals or challenges, they are similar to the puzzle pieces from Banjo Kazooie, the only difference being is that they unlock at the end of the level if the challenge was met.
While Mekazoo can be incredibly fun at times, the bugs/glitches I encountered hold this game back. The best moments of this game reminded me of much better games that came out years ago. For this reason I would say wait until there is a price drop or sale and hopefully by that time most of the bugs will be patched. It is for these reasons that I am giving Mekazoo a 6/10. It is a fun game with a lot of potential that unfortunately can’t live up to what it set out to be.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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