Tag Archives: Happy ‘Release a generic platformer that borrows its entire existence from Super Mario Bros.’ Month!

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. 
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REVIEW: Croc’s World

While it seems that every week and / or month of the year is the official sponsor of some cause or issue we need to be more aware of and contribute our money to, I’m assuming the stretch of time between late April to our current spot in May has to be called ‘Release a generic platformer that borrows its entire existence from Super Mario Bros.’ Yeah, that’s a little long, probably won’t fit on a calendar or Hallmark card, but how else do you explain the trickle of similarly-designed XBLIGs leaking onto the marketplace?

Croc's World - Screen

Sprakelsoft‘s Croc’s World ($1.00) is the newest homage to the plumber, a console port of a decent-looking mobile title by the same name. But outside of the obvious upgrade of using a physical controller over a sketchy virtual pad, it’s Mario and pedestrian platforming all the way through— including the same-y sound effects— to the extent that they should’ve just added a ‘Super’ at the front of the title and dropped the charade.

Graphically, the game alternates between an outdoors level with plenty of greenery, and the standard cavern setting. Over the course of thirty stages, the Croc will run & jump, collect a hundred gems to earn an extra life, stomp the heads of his foes, and bash bricks— albeit with the help of a football helmet, because safety first, kids.

For an additional powerup, you get a bag or rocks to throw at your enemies… …I’m not sure why. You’d think he would use his jaws, or whack them with his tail, but I digress. Both the ‘helmet’ and ‘stones’ upgrades also act as health, allowing you to absorb up to two extra hits before dying. Though with generous checkpoints and unlimited continues, there’s not much of a penalty for failure.

Croc's World - Screen2

Admittedly, the croc does look adorable with that helmet on.

In fact, the only mystery these types of platformers contain is trying to determine which of your enemies can be stomped on, and which ones have to be avoided. In Croc’s World, bees and crabs pose no threat to our reptilian hero (maybe it’s his tougher, scaly skin?), while slow-moving porcupines and even-slower swinging spike balls are your archrivals. Waiting for these enemies / hazards to complete their patrol cycle generates more yawns than challenge anyway.

You can reach the end of Croc’s World in about an hour with minimal effort. As a distraction for younger kids, it may run longer and hold some interest. But if you know better, have a decent background in videogames (you know what ‘NES’ stands for) and harbor even a below average talent for platformers, there’s simply no reason to play this. You’ve seen it all before. Move along.