REVIEW: Super MechaMan

Your natural inclination is to read Super MechaMan ($1.00) like ‘Mega Man’, thus assuming you’re getting yourself into some kind of very colorful and kiddish Mega Man-inspired platformer. That wouldn’t be wrong of you to assume, either, especially when some of the screenshots show off a character in a blue, mechanized suit, firing off blaster shots at snails1. Yet, you’d be wrong.

Super MechaMan - Screen

Broken down into its ‘no bullshit’ purest form, Super MechaMan is nothing more than Mario with a Mech suit. Furthermore, once you have that Mech suit (via a powerup doled out like mushrooms), you really need to do almost nothing else to win the game. But that comes later. The game starts off with a kidnaping kidnapping, as most of these things usually do. Bad guy takes your chick for no apparent reason, you take offense to it, and storm off after him, an army of foot soldiers and themed worlds between you and the inevitable climactic fight. Surprise, Super MechaMan takes no risks with the formula.

Gameplay is similarly lifted from its inspiration; you move from left to right to reach the exit, can stomp enemies on their head, and you bop bricks to acquire coins (a hundred earns you an extra live, natch). Super MechaMan comprises a total of ten levels, split between four world ‘types’, including a luscious greenscape (so nice we gotta use it twice!), a moonlit ice level, etc, each with their own enemy re-skins and soundtrack. The music is actually quite good, which counteracts the otherwise basic platforming and combat ‘rinse and repeat’ stuff.

Super MechaMan - Screen2

A simple boss fight concludes each world, but none of them will tax your skills. Particularly if you have the Mech suit. Sans suit, one touch kills you, but getting hit while in the suit merely demotes you back to human form. Which kind of stinks, actually, considering you’re basically a God when in Mech form. The ‘arm cannon’ makes all enemy / boss encounters a breeze. Sure, it takes more shots to maim a critter than the old ‘jump on the head’ routine, but it saves you from having to get up close and personal, eliminating any and all challenge the game might have presented.

You’re not missing much anyway, unless you enjoy really generic platformers2 you can complete in a half hour. Like Croc’s World before it, the whole thing seems ready-made for phones, the ‘copy and paste’ stuff that chokes off originality and just clogs up the marketplace out of spite. The colorful worlds are nice, but the lack of difficulty makes Super MechaMan ‘a curious glance’ at best, with ‘a skippable bore’ being the more likely outcome.

  1. Which, for the record, seems a little ridiculous. Snails? Really? I’m not telling anybody how to make their game, but ‘snails’ are not what I think of when I hear ‘threatening foot soldier’. What’s the worst they could do? Chase me really slowly, leaving a slimy trail behind? Oh, great, a mess I have to clean up? I’m shaking in my little Mech suit. 
  2. You shouldn’t. Please say you don’t. 

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: Super MechaMan”

    1. Yeah, I downloaded the trial, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I picked an odd review schedule; PLARINET coming tomorrow, then 2D World Creator, Eternal Nightmare, and probably get to Border Dash some time after that. Assuming nothing else big releases. Oh, and all this between Destiny and the regular work week. 🙂

    1. Hmm, I guess I’m just not seeing the same things as you guys after playing this. Either way, the more opinions, the better. A game should never be defined by what one person thinks / says about it. Not that you guys should stop reading this reviews ( 🙂 ), but definitely we should all have an equal say regarding a game.

    2. Yes, Lord Hurley. We, the peasants, have spoken! All those years of oppressing our opinions, telling us what to think, it all comes to an end, right now! This is a revolt, and we won’t stop until our demands are met!

      We want justice, we want freedom… we want free beer!

    1. I wanted to like it, I really did. The idea might have been a little too Mega Man-ish to be original, but it could have been an interesting platformer, were it more balanced. The suit gives you way too much power, and the levels themselves are uninteresting, even boring, when you can just shoot your way through them without thinking.

      They could expand it, like you said, with a sequel. If they were balance the difficulty, make the stages / platforming a little less generic, it could be fun. We’ll have to see.

    2. This one’s not too bad, to be honest. I revisited a lot of 80’s platformers lately and crap, they used to be tough as hell. So it was quite relaxing to not have to worry about losing a live every ten seconds.

    3. The 80’s where all about “feed me another quarter” so the object was to get you addicted then make it hard has hell. Even when games started coming out on consoles they still played out very hard. Super Mario Brothers was one of the toughest games to control with that joystick.

    4. Agreed, the 80s were unnecessarily tough, and I certainly do not want to revisit that type of challenge (even contemporary stuff like Shovel Knight and Azure Striker Gunvolt had that in spots).

      I’m all for easy street… if there’s still a challenge or some kind of gameplay motivation to see it through. The suit just makes it way too simple to breeze through, and the levels / platforming stuff is toddler-basic. I know I’ve brought this up before, but Mario remains the champion of platformers because of its constant iteration and fresh ideas, be it a 2D or 3D game. Even though we’ve all played a ton of of them, they’re still fun as hell to play and feel new. That’s not easy to do game after game.

      So when stuff like Super MechaMan comes around, blows it difficulty out of the water, then throws in a bunch of recycled jumps / platforms over gaps, ❓ bricks, and other Mario whatnots, I take offense to that. You can be a homage all you want, but at least make it fun / interesting. Throwing in those components and calling yourself a platformer doesn’t mean you’re a worthwhile platformer.

      And yes, yes, I realize this is a $1 game and an indie project, but still, come on. Putting more effort into your games is going to ultimately pay off at some point. Probably.

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