Day 386: Mechanoid Army

Posted: 2011/12/01 in Indie Games

One of my all-time favourite Commodore 64 games was “Paradroid”, a game where you control a robot running around a doomed ship, jacking other robots, and trying to find your way to the exit. Where Paradroid was a fast-paced top-down explore-’em-up with mini-games when trying to take over other droids, “Mechanoid Army” is a side-scrolling platformer; however, the taking control of other robots to further your goals element is still here, as is the human-free ship in space, and it all rubbed my nostalgia bone the right way.

The game’s innovations include allowing your droid to grab objects to create temporary platforms to jump up from or off of. The robot jacking of Paradroid has been completely reimagined as well, taking the challenge out of the jacking itself and replacing it with challenge in utilising the jacking effectively. There are a wide variety of robots to command, from lightweight ones, to heavy duty ones, to jetpack equipped droids, and more, as well as several objects (bombs, lights, etc.).

The game has some great touches, such as different parts of the ship have different levels of gravity, the screen shaking prominently when a heavy droid falls down to a lower platform in a heavy gravity area, and a lot of personality in the robots themselves. The overall presentation is extremely strong for an indie game, and they feel a bit like a cross between a robot wind-up toy and the robots from Disney’s live action movie “The Black Hole”.

Level design is widely varied, even a crazy Jet Set Radio-ish skating level. Other environments include the outside of the ship as it gets pummeled by asteroids, dark areas where you must create your own light, and more. It’s 240 points (the lowest it can be, as this game has a huge file size and is too big for the 80 Microsoft Point price tier), and well worth checking out the trial. Here’s what the developer (mancebo) has to say about the game:

“Mechanoid Army is a very entertaining platform based video game, which action takes place inside of a mysterious spaceship, the Nexus-9. This frenetic video game will challenge the good reflexes and ingenious of the player since the very begining.”

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