More Boom than Sonic
Do you remember Sonic the Hedgehog with a distant fondness? Do you find yourself wishing that there was a modern version of Sonic that could fill you with the same enthusiasm and sense of speed? Well, if that’s the case, Mekazoo from The Good Mood Creators might be a game to keep your eye on.
Mekazoo puts you in control of mekanimals (think meca-animals) each with different abilities. For each stage the player is able to switch seamlessly between two of the mekanimals to conquer obstacles, solve puzzles, overcome enemies and defeat bosses. There is a total of five mekanimals; armadillo, frog, wallaby, pelican and panda each with unique traits that they bring to the table. For example, frog is able to leap to parkour around stages while also using its tongue to swing across large expanses and fight enemies. Armadillo is able to roll around on the ground, building momentum and attacking with bursts of speed. These combinations allow for some pretty cool combinations, you could use the acrobatic frog to flip and swing your way to the top of a stage, only to switch to armadillo and go barreling down a hill into a group of enemies with lightning speed.
While some areas will require a specific combination of skills to pass obstacles, there is a lot of room for free exploration with the mekanimal of your choice. The Good Mood Creators have implemented a special kind of interactive platform that changes based on the mekanimal you are using. If you approach a pair of platforms as frog, it might be rings for you to use your tongue to swing between, however if you were wallaby, it might be two vertical walls for you to jump between. The game also features local co-op where each player controls a single mekanimal and the inactive player decides when a swap occurs.
The story opens with armadillo coming to the aid of his four mekanimal friends who have been corrupted by the insectoid army and transformed into angry versions of themselves. As the player bests these bosses the mekanimals are returned to their friendly state and set out to fight the insect invaders as a group.
All of the art is vibrant with a very mechanized feel to it. There are multiple environments ranging from forests with lush vegetation to underground caverns covered with lava and all offer different challenges for the mekanimals to solve. This is paired with an equally varied soundtrack that switches between a pumping techno beats and a more understated electronic vibe which really creates the sense of the hybrid natural-mechanical world that these mekanimals live in.
During my time with Mekazoo I couldn’t help but think, this is the game I wish Sega had created for Sonic. Lush environments, tight mechanics, responsive controls and, at times, a blistering pace. Everything you want out of a fun, but challenging, game experience. Mekazoo is headed to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and PC in Q1 of 2016.