You’ve probably heard this phrase a hundred times in life — patience is a virtue. Well, this rings especially true for Somepx’s Mekabolt. This incredibly short metroidvania was published by Ratalaika Games — that’s right, the same publisher that brought you Paradox Soul — and GrabTheGames on August 20. Have your stress ball handy when you play Mekabolt.
Before I dive into why you’ll want to throw your controller/keyboard out the window, let me sum up the plot. This will be quick because frankly… there really isn’t a plot. Player one is an unnamed technician for the robot-powered Mekapark theme park. These robots are meant to help guests navigate the adventures of the park, but unfortunately, their batteries have gone missing. Without them, our metal tour guides go off the rails and create chaos. Your job is to collect all of the batteries, which are scattered throughout different areas of Mekapark, using your trusty Mekabolt device to disarm the haywire robots.
Mekabolt‘s gameplay consists of 100 short 2-D puzzle platformer levels divided into four different areas. In order to unlock the next area, you must collect a certain number of batteries, which can be found one-by-one at the end of each level. The map is sequential, so in order to move on, you must collect the battery from the previous challenge. However, you only have to complete half of one area to unlock the next.
Mekabolt’s controls are incredibly straightforward and laid out plain and simple in the opening levels. Move, jump and shoot your Mekabolt gun. That’s all there is to it. Even if you skip the opening storyline (be honest, we all do it), you can figure out the gist of it pretty easily.
There is no voice acting in Mekabolt, but Somepx more than made up for that by adding in some upbeat and playful arcade game music.
I’m sure so far it seems easy enough, right? Here’s where the frustration comes in: you only have one life. You must make it through each of Mekabolt‘s levels unscathed in order to reach the battery. If you even so much as put a toe on an obstacle or enemy (assuming this technician even has toes), it’s back to the beginning of the level for you.
You will die in Mekabolt. A lot. Finding out what comes next in each level is very trial-and-error, especially considering that each level is filled with tiny spears in the ground and on the ceilings that you barely even see until you step on them. Because of this, you can’t really run through the levels quickly, which is something I like to do. I found myself getting very irritated by the fact that I had to step so cautiously.
As you can imagine, it does take some time to get through each of Mekabolt‘s levels even though they aren’t very long. Picture it: you finally get past a difficult obstacle after dying 87 times and the battery is in sight. You get excited and run to it, only to accidentally step on a spear and get sent all the way back. Womp womp womp.
With that being said, Mekabolt does have the potential to be finished in under an hour. If you take your time and think through each move, you’ll ultimately save time by finishing each level only once rather than having to start over multiple times.
Mekabolt does get very repetitive very quickly. I traveled through each area of Mekapark expecting to run into a boss battle or a development in the storyline, only to find pretty much the same levels as I’ve completed before. The only difference between areas is a change of scenery.
However, I do think Mekabolt‘s concept is interesting and unique. When you shoot robots, you stun them, rather than kill them. Then, you use the robots to your advantage, whether it be by simply moving them, jumping on them, or riding them to a higher point. In some cases, you must shoot a flame-throwing robot to turn it the other direction and dissolve obstacles in your path. It’s pretty cool.
Overall, I’d say Mekabolt is generic. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. What’s fun at first quickly turns into a chore. With just a bit more variety in gameplay, this metroidvania could go the extra mile.