“Overrated”. A word that frequents around the Game Maker universe. Many games seem to get fantastic ratings despite generally not being that good. On YoYo Games, overrating runs rampant, as some (most?) of the members seem to be on the mindset that “obvious design flaws, bland gameplay and a badly made interface don’t matter because Jesus Christ, it’s in 3D and everything!” If you’ve not seen this weird delusion in action, go and look up Crimelife II and III. I would’ve reviewed one of those, but neither are complete (which is why the gameplay faceplants so hard). So, I’ve found the next best thing. Mega Block Man 2. A game that begins by opening you up a default GM helpscreen.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Mega Block Man 2 does at least manage a level of challenging gameplay. However, it’s really rather banal. It kinda feels like Super Mario 64 with all the loveliness removed. Levels don’t seem like single lands, they feel like a bunch of the same blocks stuck together. There are plenty of obstacles (floating blocks that slam you, Tron-esque spiders, flamethrowers, rolling balls of spikiness, the list goes on) but they all amount to either jumping on or over them to kill/avoid them. Most are repeated from the first Mega Block Man with no change whatsoever. Boss fights are bland, to be generous (they stick to the age-old boss formula of “when you work out what you have to do, it becomes easy). The game contains a level editor, though, to be frank, I’m just not going to bother.
The bland streak continues into the graphics of the game. The main character is simple but his animation works fine. Everything else looks very generic though. The unlighted, near-monotonal graphics don’t help, nor does the use of sprites for certain things (the fire doesn’t work particularly well). The background sky, for one, is from the Game Maker resource pack (not necessarily bad, just “seen it before in about 9001 games”) The graphics of the interface aren’t bland, they’re just amateur – use of Arial, grey/black colour scheme, and a complete misfit of a health bar.
The sound effects in the game are simple, but they are at least stronger than some of the other aspects. Generally they suit the purpose and the game’s style. Music, though? This is where any shred of remaining professionalism in the game shoots itself in the foot repeatedly – the game rotates between a large number of MIDIs, many of which are straight from the resource packs. So, yep, you’ll get naff covers of Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong Country music that you’ve heard in about twenty 1945 ripoffs and those games where you’re a bear fighting off burgers and footballs.
In all, this game is distinctly average. The game itself is based on a solid engine, and has the potential to be fantastic, but its design flaws, lack of variety and, well, its blandless, knock it down a notch. The third instalment is currently in development – it doesn’t look to be any better, though I’m sure it make a rabble of kiddies scream.
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