App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Orangepixel went back and rebooted one of its old series, Meganoid. In this 2017 version, the intense platforming action has been repurposed into a roguelike structure, resulting in a game that pretty closely resembles Spelunky. While the idea of having a new take on Spelunky on mobile certainly sounds appealing, Meganoid (2017)'s design and controls just don't quite feel up to snuff to pull it off as well as it should.
Jump, die, repeat
In Meganoid (2017), you play as an explorer in charge of investigating a mysterious spaceship. This ship is full of of things like treasure and items, but also enemies, traps, and obstacles. It is your goal to investigate as deeply into the ship as possible without dying, which is certainly easier said than done.
The platforming action in Meganoid (2017) is pretty brutal because it gives you only three hit points of health which don't regenerate between levels. If at any point you die, you have to start the entire game from the first level and you lose all of your items and money that you gathered along the way.
Given this general overview, you can already start to make comparisons between Meganoid (2017) and Derek Yu's Spelunky, but these games have much, much more in common than just their basic structure. Almost every aspect of Meganoid (2017) feels like a sci-fi take on the beloved, cave-exploration platformer.
For instance, every time you start a game in Meganoid (2017), you get a set of bombs that you can use to blow up your environment. You also can choose to move between levels at your own pace, but staying too long on any given level spawns powerful security enemies that will try to chase and kill you until you move on. If that weren't enough, there are similar-looking shops, randomized loot, and even level grouping that all just scream Spelunky.
The idea of making a Spelunky-like mobile is a fantastic one, so I can't blame Orangepixel for going this route with their remake of Meganoid. In fact, I applaud them. That said, making something look like Spelunky is one thing, and making something feel as good as it is another thing entirely.
The fact of the matter is: Meganoid (2017)'s controls don't quite feel as sharp as they should for such a demanding platformer. Some of this has to do with the fact that you're dealing with touch-screen buttons, but even if you opt to play the game with an MFi controller, jumping and moving feel oddly stilted. This–combined with some platforms and other foreground objects that can get confused with the background–make Meganoid (2017) stand out more for how it's different and inferior to Spelunky than anything else.
The bottom line
I applaud Meganoid (2017) for its ambition. The roguelike platforming that Spelunky offers feels like a great fit for mobile. Unfortunately though, this game doesn't quite capture the magic of its source material, offering a decent, but sub-optimal, platforming for the kind of game it's trying to be.