Mekazoo is a game I first saw at Rezzed, and what I mean is I noticed the booth. Rezzed was crazy, with tons of games available and every day I discovered a new gem I had missed, but it was inevitable that I would not get to play all of them.
So when the chance came up to play Mekazoo during EGX I leapt at the chance and booked the appointment, just to make sure I would get to play it and talk to the developers, The Good Mood Creators.
What I found was a fantastic platformer with incredible depth and a high skill cap. Let’s break it down.
In Mekazoo you control up to five mechanical animals—hence the name—and clear levels on your way to defeating the forces that are corrupting your lush home. According to the developers, when the full game starts you only have the Armadillo available. Horrified to see all his companions and fellow animals corrupted and turned into mindless monsters, he sets out to release them, starting with the first boss, the Frog.
The EGX demo begins after this with you controlling the Frog and Armadillo, and one thing that I noticed instantly was the ability to switch from one character to the other on the fly. You could gather speed with the Armadillo, who rolls on the ground at speed like Sonic the Hedgehog, then jump over a ramp, turn into the Frog and use his impossibly long tongue to hang onto a bar that drops you into a half-pipe, where turning into the armadillo helps you get another big boost and crash into enemies.
I didn’t do this at the beginning of course. I barely made the odd jump here and there as I learned the controls and what I could do with the characters. To add another challenge to my session was the fact the game had bugged out and both characters were invisible. But as it wasn’t my first time playing an invisible character, I just went with it, until one of the devs looked at my screen and asked: “Has it been like this the whole time?” I said yes and he offered to fix it.
Since it meant turning it off and on again—the solution to 99% of IT problems to be honest, and I’m a developer, so I know what I’m talking about—I bemoaned the loss of progress. To make thing easier for me, as soon as he launched the game he flew through the level, playing one-handed, without missing a single jump and doing it in pretty much record time. I turned, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Now you’re just showing off!”
I played the rest of the level and came across the 2nd boss in the game, the Wallaby—that I called kangaroo most of the time. It’s a pretty nifty boss fight, forcing you to use both animals’ skills in tandem to bring bombs on top of the massive monster. It took a few tries, mostly because I kept blowing myself up, but eventually I got him and he turned into an ally and my new character.
The wallaby was hard as hell, with some tricky precision timing to make the most of his crazy jumps. But once I got the hang of it, it was a ton of fun to switch from him to the Frog, using the latter to gather enough momentum to propel me to another platform where I could then jump even further.
But as the developer proved and mentioned when I spoke to them, this is a game where the more proficient you become the better and faster you’ll clear the levels. Much like me, they love speedruns and often hold competitions among the team. They intend to add speedrun-friendly features, so we can all become as good as possible and clear the game in record times—hopefully a leaderboard will come with it.
I have to say I loved the visuals and the music as well. Graphically it looks straight out of an 80s sci-fi movie, with bright neon colours and jagged metal everywhere, but also mixed with plants and natural elements that reminded me of the generally awful Beast Machines animated series, all techno-organic and such. The music was great, upbeat and very fast, almost as if the composer were telling you “get a move on!”
Guess what? Yes, this is another game that is coming very soon, and you can bet I’ll get my hands on it, probably won’t let it go for a while! It’s that much fun! Also, I want to get to the level where I can fly through a stage with one hand and without missing a jump.
I can be competitive at times!