Mekabolt+ – PS5 Review


Mekabolt+ is a rehash of Mekabolt on PS4/Vita from 2019 by somepx and Ratalaika. We reviewed it back then and this is fundamentally the same game, only just for PS5 in this instance. We’re not entirely sure why this is so, given the levels are slightly different to that which we played thirty months ago. Ratalaika could’ve just as easily have pulled the FIFA on Switch trick and called this a Legacy Edition or something on PS4, but for whatever reason they chose not to.

The titular mekabolt is a miracle device that disables mechanical objects, some permanently, others on a strictly temporary basis. The opening spiel of the game is something about batteries being needed for the mekabolt itself. At any rate it’s secondary to getting down to the task at hand.

What follows is a romp through various levels, not dissimilar to another Ratalaika/somepx  game, Gravity Duck. The menus are essentially the same, clearly built on the same framework. But none the worse for it. Mekabolt+ could have lapsed into generic blandness but somehow doesn’t. Your character is meant to be a lady, but we’re getting more of a latter-day Gary Numan vibe. Go look him up. It’s uncanny.

The level design is broadly familiar to that from Gravity Duck, based on a similar tileset layout. Graphically different due to our man from Italy’s sterling work. Along with environmental hazards including falling rocks, cacti and burning hot lava, you’ll find your progress impeded by various enemies you can zap with the mekabolt gun.

You’ll face a variety of enemies beginning with basic guys that run left and right, easy enough. Next up there’s slug throwers that prove more taxing than they ought to be. Additional enemies include flying platforms you can climb on, and the same again with spikes that make for instant death if you jump on them while they’re awake. They only stay inanimate for a short time after a mekabolt zap so timing your jumps to the second is needed to progress.

You can shove ground based enemies while they remain inert, useful for jumping to previously unreachable platforms. Or in the case of the fan mechs, useful for blowing you over otherwise impassible obstacles. You can also push some blocks by shooting them, they don’t fight back thankfully.

Some reasonable environmental puzzles come into play with your needing to use the abilities of the enemies you generally have to dodge otherwise, notably the spikes and fireballs from fixed turrets. You can also zap some items such as cacti to create short-term platforms to aid your progress. Sometimes you’ll negotiate a tricky section only to pause and get nobbled by an otherwise retracted spike that’ll appear from beneath the ground. You feel like you’re being trolled a little sometimes.

It’s all well and good with the cute design and and generally forgiving gameplay, but we can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed due to the speed we got done. Even with the remixed levels here, this feels like little more than an itch.io concept fleshed out. It’s alright but the relative lack of challenge on display and the fact we had another platinum in fairly short order.

One other difference you have from the PS4/Vita versions is the addition of challenge levels with a bald guy who can pick up the bots and move them around.

Mekabolt+ is alright, just like it was originally alright. We enjoyed ourselves for the most part but it’s all over very quickly. It’s just a shame that Ratalaika didn’t see fit to include the PS4 version in this case.

Mekabolt+
5 Overall
Pros
+ Cute pixel design
+ Interesting mechanic of freezing enemies
+ Newly remixed levels and challenge mode are a good addition
Cons
- No PS4 port for some reason
- Some pernickety design makes for difficulty spikes
- Slight package due to relative lack of challenge otherwise
Summary
Mekabolt+ is a rehashed take on Mekabolt from 2019, only for some reason this time only on PS5. It's OK, but hardly the usual value proposition we've grown used to.


About Ian

Ian likes his games weird. He loves his Vita even if Sony don't anymore. He joined the PS4 party relatively late, but has been in since day one on PS5.

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