If there is one thing you can truly say about Megabyte Punch it would be the fact that it certainly knows, understands and respects its roots, merging a number of classic gaming genres in a pleasing retro style. Megabyte Punch has two modes, Adventure and Fight, both of which can be played by one to four players. So all Reptile Games had to ensure was that they got the balance right.
Adventure is a 2D platform game where you play a Megac, a robot with replaceable parts, tasked with protecting a village. To do this you go from level to level collecting upgrades from defeated enemies, chests hidden around the levels and bits you can spend in shops. Each individual part adds a unique set of abilities, such as limited flight, increased speed, better damage or more specialised abilities – the best of which are dropped by the bosses at the end of each three stage level. The levels designed with the opportunity to return when certain powers have been obtained, so you can access further “secret” areas and unlock more parts.
The action is wild and fast with combat in the levels often ranging over vast areas. Part of the reason for this is the combat takes the form of Super Smash Bros, meaning weakened enemies can be punched further, but some also is through design and often you need to think about racing into an area as you can get swamped by enemies. There are also choke points in the game where you are locked down until the enemies are defeated, your prize being a checkpoint that saves your progress.
Fight mode is a rather lovely tribute to Super Smash Bros with modifications. This is no mean feat as that classic must have taken a long time to balance. Here you can adapt your Megacs with items obtained in Adventure mode to make them individual battlers in the fast, frenetic and fun action. There is little more to say; if you like Super Smash Bros this is for you.
Graphics and sound also fit the retro feel the game maintains throughout. Each level looking like it has been gently nurtured on a SNES or Megadrive and then filtered into the game and if playing we highly recommend using a controller to gain the far quicker responses as some of the keyboard controls can feel stodgy for a game with this level of high speed action.
If there is a fault with the game Adventure mode can be repetitive, the sets of three levels not looking different enough. Although basic enemies have different modes of attack these can be worked around with some consideration. You also need to get used to working out which way your Megac is facing, so you are actually hitting the enemy. The best moments coming when the types of enemies are mixed and its forte being the boss fights which offer something very new, and soak up all those extra lives you gained very quickly, often making you dance around the screen trying to work out the best form of attack.