Megabyte Punch lands on Switch with high expectation. Who wouldn’t like to build a powerhouse robot from exploring worlds, and collecting parts from smashed enemies now?
From the start, things don’t bode too well. The tutorial area section is not pretty to say the least. Your starter robot looks pretty much like a robo squirrel, and as you follow instruction, the controls can feel a little messy as you jump around whilst trying to settle with the control system. Standard left stick is, of course, to move around with right stick to jump but down on the right stick to display the part selection menu. Yes, you guessed it! There’s times you want to jump but instead you got a menu. When it comes to combat, our robot is equipped with a punch attack (A), a flying jump kick, (if you can jump and hit A without a menu) , and the L and R triggers catered for. With L for a pelvic thrust attack (don’t ask!) and R for a defensive shield ability.
From the tutorial though, visually, things improve considerably. Your first village hub area containing your home, looks very much like a level from Sonic the Hedgehog crossed with Lego. You can interact with Npcs giving advice and side quests. Visit shops with the bytes you collect from hidden pots or fallen enemies, and explore other places where you can collect secret items/parts and extra bytes from store room boxes.
Leaving the village area, will take you to various levels where you will progress through platform ridden mine like areas. Encountering enemies, collecting robot parts and bytes along the way. Here, the combat with enemies is fairly satisfying. A decent kick or punch can send an enemy flying across the screen, where it will thud and explode into byte pieces or drop parts. If only the combat looked clean though. It’s the mash of polygons as you fight throughout this game, including boss fights, that makes combat messy and untidy at times, and more importantly, confusing to the eye on what the hell is going on!
A nice little addition to this game, is the collection of body parts and its relation to each level. Before you leave any area through an exit door, players have to cycle through the inventory and pick which best parts you need before leaving. All other parts are removed once exiting from each level. This at least allows strategy and planning for the player. Parts collected are varied and allow various abilities to be activated. Arms, for example, might give you extra attack strength or blast and drilling ability. Legs for extra speed or increased jump power. These additions really beginning and encouraging to forge how you want to play and the style you want to play it.
Every 4th level will encounter a boss fight, and here the gameplay really delves into very familiar Super Smash Bros territory. Hits are given and taken, over a raised area of ground. Where a good hit will send one of you plummeting over the edge and falling into oblivion, over a series of rounds. Again, it’s decent, if not familiar gameplay, marred by close combat untidiness. With the mash of polygons making combat steadily confusing and untidy and the control system never really feeling like it’s fixed and solid.
Defeating a boss will often get you a special body part, and you are once again back at the main hub/village where you can visit home. Here, players can choose by cycling through a collection of body parts stored. Change the colour of their robot, and store a fixed set up on a generous list of empty slots,before venturing back out to progress further in the adventure.
Overall, there are some great moments with Megabyte Punch, that are marred by mixed controls and messy visuals. The exploration and collection of body parts is a cool idea, with some very pleasing and juicy fight mechanics. It’s just a shame that everything feels and looks so small and controls get untidy and fiddly. Mashing punch whilst trying to jump feels more trial and error than what it should be.
Away from the adventure, there is a tournament mode, Couch Co-Op and Versus modes, where success grants extra parts and special items and every mode (including adventure) can cater up to 4 players.
Just a shame then, that Megabyte, comes across a bit Mega-Lite!
Thanks to Team Reptile for the code