The world of fantasy-based video games is a busy one, and one with a heavily storied past over the course of video game history. In order to stand out from their competition in this massively saturated market, games developers must try to offer something unique; something that Common Visual Entertainment has attempted with their new game.
MeatPossible Chapter 1.5 serves as a sidestory to the main plot of the MeatPossible webcomic (which can be found here), and sees players take control of Lunaya, the talented knight captain of the Epicton Kingdom, as she fights through waves of attacking enemies as they launch their assault on the kingdom.
Taking cues from a handful of different game genres such as traditional RPGs and endless arcade shooters, MeatPossible tasks players with controlling Lunaya through a never-ending scrolling level, blasting enemies, collecting items and avoiding many different obstacles that gradually become more plentiful and tougher as things progress.
Having all of these genres mashed together has the potential to open the game up to a much wider demographic, but it has to be balanced correctly in order for it to successfully replicate all the best parts of the games that it calls back to. Does MeatPossible manage to pull this off?
While the effort to make the game feel unique is pretty admirable, there’s a laundry list of problems with the gameplay that stops things dead in their tracks. The game employs elements of at least one genre too many, with the main culprit being the “Flappy Bird” style game. Having Lunaya constantly dropping to the bottom of the screen may initially feel like a nice little additional challenge, but after a few minutes, this feature becomes one of the most infuriating parts of the whole game.
Then there’s the combat system. Lunaya’s basic attack is not only confusing to look at, but highly inaccurate too. This issue actually made me ditch attacking a lot of enemies altogether at times, as I found that simply avoiding enemies and obstacles was getting me better high scores and a much longer time playing the game.
There’s also some minigame powerups that show up sporadically, which resemble a standard “one-armed bandit” machine, giving players rewards such as coins and extra HP. These are easy to appreciate when you first encounter them, as they do a good job of boosting high scores for people that are looking to best themselves, but are so slow when they’re triggered, the pacing of the game is thrown off almost entirely as soon as you nab one.
Visually, MeatPossible draws inspiration from old-school 2D JRPGs such as early Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger, with some of the enemies reminding me slightly of the Evil Pigs from the Tomba! series. The sprites presented throughout the game are impressive, with a wide variety of colourful designs scattered around the screen at all times.
This positive is unfortunately offset by a number of negatives. The backgrounds of each level are bland, lifeless settings, the sprites of the characters are way too small to fully appreciate, and when they are bigger in size, the sprites become so blurry that it becomes tough to look at.
Overall, MeatPossible Chapter 1.5 is a pretty disappointing experience. There’s instances of potential dotted around the game, but they are too few and far between to make any real impact in the long run. The game’s story is pretty interesting, but the majority of it is delved into as an optional extra, thus making it slightly difficult to attribute it to the game itself.
While the attempt to merge the features of an endless arcade shooter with elements of RPG titles is commendable (on paper, at least), MeatPossible Chapter 1.5 simply falls short in too many areas to be recommended to even the most casual fans of any of the genres that it borrows from.
- The game’s story is impressively deep, with plenty to read up on.
- The key artwork in the menus is pretty fantastic, as are some of the character sprites.
- Many of the game’s features are confusing.
- Unsatisfying combat system.
- Bland backgrounds and generally messy level design.
- Missing sound effects and uninspiring soundtrack.
Rating – 4/10
MeatPossible Chapter 1.5 is now available for PC via Steam, iOS devices and Android devices.
For the purpose of this review, a review copy of the game was provided by the developer.