Publisher: Ratalaika Games S.L.
Genre(s): Action, Arcade, Puzzle
Platform: PS5 (also available on Xbox)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 15/02/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
In the midst of a slew of AAA games being released at the moment, sometimes a little indie platformer can be a welcome palette cleanser. Mekabolt+ certainly is that.
It is likely a game that won’t have appeared on many radars, especially as there is a lot to play at the moment. However, if you’re looking for a break from big open-world games then read on to see what this charming puzzle game has to offer!
What Is Mekabolt+?
Mekabolt+ is a new extended version of Mekabolt that adds an extra mode simply called challenges. These challenges put an additional twenty-four levels on top of the ninety-six that were in the original game.
For those who may not have played through the original game, you play as a theme park technician trying to collect batteries (through various types of tricky levels that require patience and precision) to restore the theme park to normality. The name Mekabolt comes from the tool that is given to you to help subdue or manipulate out-of-control robots that have created chaos in the theme park.
The game is broken up into four sections, each of them introducing new elements, robots, and obstacles, with the game getting progressively harder as you go on. In the new challenges mode, the twenty-four levels are again split into the four environmental sections within the theme park – again getting tougher the more you progress through each of the six levels.
This time around you play as the theme park owner. Instead of having a Mekabolt tool to help shoot robots, with this character you can pick up robots and use them to help navigate you to the batteries.
Is Mekabolt+ a Big Plus?
As someone who is a huge fan of small indie platformers such as The Bridge, A Juggler’s Tale, and Limbo, this game scratches that puzzle game itch. Just like the aforementioned games, Mekabolt+ presents a delightful challenge and doesn’t overstay its welcome. After a couple of hours spread across two sittings, I had collected the platinum trophy (definitely one for fans of easy trophies with an 80% platinum trophy rate) and completed the game.
For some who are used to playing games that go well over twenty+ hours, the short length of Mekabolt+ may be seen as a negative. However, with its charming pixel arcade aesthetic and smooth gameplay Mekabolt+ is worth your time and it’s a really good price at £3.99.
Where Mekabolt+ excels is its level design. Each level has been well crafted and every new element is introduced at a good pace that never makes the increase in difficulty level too harsh. There are times when it does feel like the game straddles the line between difficult and intentionally trying to frustrate you with its precise nature, especially in the late stages of the sections, however, the levels are never hard enough to be stuck on for too long.
The twenty-four new levels that come with this new version are more of a side-step than a step up in difficulty, although the new gameplay features are a nice variation.
Where It’s Not So Mega
The game is by no means perfect and slips in some areas. One aspect, in particular, is the lack of depth to the game as a whole. There is not much to the game other than 120 short levels and once you’re done with them there is very little reason to go back and play them again. It would’ve been nice to see more options added once the game is complete, such as a time trial element or (for the sadist gamers out there) an extreme no death option.
Also, apart from two or three screens of text at the start of the game, there is nothing in terms of narrative. A little more of that throughout – maybe after each section or even after you’ve completed the game – would be a nice touch, just to remind the player why they are doing what they are doing.
Another element that could have been done with a slight improvement is the soundtrack. It is fun and helps to provide that arcade vibe, however, it does not have much variation as you progress into the new challenge section because it is the same as the main game. Although it is only a minor point, a slightly more jazzed-up soundtrack for the new levels is something that could have elevated Mekabolt+ and made it feel like a step up from the original.
One control characteristic that can be frustrating is the running and jumping over obstacles. It can be occasionally unresponsive and does not pick up when the jump button has been pressed when running close to an edge even though you are still on the ground, which most often then results in death. It can be perhaps put down to a simple “get good”, though it is frustrating. Generally, the controls were smooth though and were hardly a hindrance when playing other than the running and jumping, but again just knowing that you may need to be precise at times will resolve that issue.
One peculiar aspect of this new + version is why it is not available on other platforms like PC or Switch yet like the original is. At the time of writing this review, there is no word as to when it may come to those platforms.
Overall, I thought Mekabolt+ was fun and as mentioned was a nice break from open-world games at the moment. There are a lot of things I like about the game such as the challenge it offered, which felt like similar indie games such as Limbo or A Juggler’s Tale. It also had that “just one more level” element to it, which of course always shows how good a game is if it makes you want to carry on. It could have easily been made to frustrate but there is a nice balance, although just the slight issue with design mechanics can be annoying.
I would like to see what else the team at Somepx goes on to create as there is more they could do with this concept that can be used with a sequel or a new IP. For instance, the level designs were well put together. Finally, there can never be too many arcade puzzle platformers, the team behind this know what makes those style of games fun, so more of this, please!
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase Mekabolt+ in the PlayStation Store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.