Overall Score 55%
Mega Bounce 2
For a long time now, I've been dreading this, fearing the time that a game appears for review that no matter how good, just cannot live up to another game in the same genre. The game in question is Mega Bounce 2, a bat and ball game that is going to have a very hard time convincing me to recommend it to the world.
I wouldn't normally start a review so negatively but I feel I have truly played the pinnacle of the bat and ball gaming genre already, so what possibility does this latest effort have of changing my mind?
Mega Bounce 2 continues the very long tradition of having the gamer hit a rebounding ball around the screen using a bat (ship) at the bottom as defense. In addition to keeping the ball in play, you must also destroy all of the bricks in a room in order to complete it and continue to the next, harder level. This genre has existed since the very earliest days of gaming and, for the most part, hasn't really changed, except for the genre addition of new powerups.
So what does Mega Bounce 2 do to shake things up? Well, in truth, very little. All the usual gameplay elements for a bat and ball game exist; loads of levels, a pretty good selection of randomly dropped powerups (and powerdowns), a ball that, erm... bounces. But where is the innovation? Why play this game?
To be fair to Mega Bounce 2, everything it does, it does pretty well. The visuals are reasonable and the developer has made efforts to remove the usual 'block' look of the genre by using a variety of objects such as chains. Game audio is best described as 'ok' but you do get the added bonus of using your own mp3's during play which is a nice touch. One gameplay feature that I haven't seen before in this genre is the ability to direct your ball at a chosen angle whenever you have caught the ball - whilst useful, I've never had any problems with previous bat and ball games that haven't provided such a feature.
The highlight of the game is with the powerup selection which adds a couple of nice new choices to those found in other games. My favourite is the Multi-ball which produces a number of offshoot one-contact balls each time it hits your bat. I also liked the Triple-ball which splits your ball (or balls...) into three.
In total there are 28 different powerups/downs and 11 types of brick to destroy which alongside the generous number of levels, sounds like a lot of game. However, the levels let this particular game down a lot - most of them are really boring to play. The nicely animated backgrounds during play don't make up for lacklustre level design!
If I start looking for problems with Mega Bounce 2, the final score starts to drop further towards average. Ball physics are a little strange at times, often deflecting the ball in an unexpected direction. In-game progression is just too easy, I spent a couple of hours with the game and didn't come close to losing a life and during that time I completed 80% of the levels. My only other gripe is that the game starts by asking you to pick classic or puzzle levels - selecting puzzle levels gives an in-game response telling you that they are coming soon!
In summary, I can't really recommend a purchase of Mega Bounce 2 because the competition is just too strong. If you want to see how good a bat and ball game can be, please check out BreakQuest, a game that I've given a mini-review for over on the Bytten Write Up.
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