I love my classic platform games. Good thing there is no shortage of them to be found on the App Store. Granted, there's plenty of crappy ones out there. Even though I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to pixels, I definitely don't have a fetish about it. I have no patience for the crappy retro games out there that try and trade in decent game play and controls for "artful" low resolution. Then there are games, like Super Crate Box, that do it right and not only nail the 8-bit homage, but also make a great game. You can count the Meganoid games in with that group as well.
When I first saw the title of this game, I thought that Mega Man had placed the 'ol Mega Buster above the mantle and decided to sell out to Domino's. But that's not the case at all. Instead you guide Grandpa, a bundle of pixels that resembles an elderly Indiana Jones, through all kinds of temples and dungeons. There's even snakes! Grandpa hates snakes.
The Meganoid games were initially released on Android, but were later ported to iOS. The gameplay is fast and you will die a lot. And there are tons of levels! Some levels take less than 10 seconds to finish. In each level, there will be three objectives. One is to just make it to the end of the level and light the torch.
The second is to find the strange, grimacing statue that's either hidden or in a precarious position somewhere in the level. The third objective is to finish in the time allotted. If you let the clock run down, you will still be able to finish the level, you just won't get the achievement for it. If you get all three, then you will see that reflected at the end of the level.
Like any good platformer worth its salt, there are plenty of secrets and hidden areas that often house the statue. In one of the first few levels, you will have to jump through a fake wall in order to get the statue achievement. There are other conventions at work here as well. At the start of each level, you are invulnerable for a very short amount of time. But unlike other platformers, I was unable to make this work to my advantage at all.
It's really more of a tease. Because even when there is something deadly right in front of you at the start of a level, it's a good chance that you will die if you try and run through it. So get used to seeing Grandpa's pile of bones.
I love well-made games like this with a lot of challenge. The game play evolves into sort of a fast-twitch memory game. Some of the harder levels will require you to sputter through several test-runs, mapping out all the hidden dangers. The attention to detail with these traps is great as well. Even though it may seem like a lot of things come out of nowhere to kill you, there are subtle visual clues for each one, such as the falling pixel dirt whenever a block is about to crush you. The hitboxes are a tad on the big side, leading to some frustrating phantom deaths later on. But the levels are all under a minute anyway, so it's never too much pain.
As you would expect with a platform game that can be as challenging as this one, the controls in Meganoid 2 are great. Not only are they responsive and let you make minute corrections in the movement of your character, but they are often placed out of the way, so your hands don't obscure the action. Too often I will find my hands in the way with a lot of these retro pixel-art platformers. I preferred playing this on my iPhone, so this design feature was most welcome.
Meganoid 2 is a great little game for those seeking a well-made platform action title. I wish the developers went a little further with the whole Indiana Jones theme and added some kind of a weapon to the gameplay (those snakes were just asking for a good whipping). But all in all, it was a satisfying adventure.