Indie games are well known for bringing games with art styles reflecting older games, usually in the style of pixel art or other old styles from that era. For the first time I started a game and felt like I had just booted a PS2 game in this generation. Whether that was intentional or not the first thing the debut title McDroid by Elefantopia did was bring me a feeling of nostalgia that is different to usual.
That is not to say McDroid is a bad looking game. It is not horribly pixelated with jagged edges like people who have gone back to an old PS2 game may have noticed. Instead it was the shapes and proportions of backgrounds and characters, as well as the simple but not too simple detailing that reminded me of an early PS2 era platformer. This is brought home well with the cell shaded art style, which stops it from looking blocky and bad, to beautifully simple.
Gameplay wise McDroid is very much a tower defence game. You need to protect yourself and your ship by collecting strawberries, which you need to farm during the action, as well as diamonds to fund the purchase and development of weapons to deploy. What you are protecting yourself and this ship from is waves of weird aliens, from giant worms with teeth, to giant spiders, to giant snails with teeth; there may be a pattern here. The real gold in the gameplay is the fact that you are a character who runs around collecting and deploying things, as opposed to the usual tower defence style where you look down on the field and place weapons. This makes it a more arcady and hectic game.
As previously mentioned the game comes in waves with each level having a set number of waves. But then there are challenge levels where you take from where you left off, allowing you to keep your strawberries and other useful things, in a level with unlimited waves of enemies. On top of that is the arena levels where you also face unlimited waves but have more freedom on where you can place weapons. So there is a whole lot of replay value here, but if you are as bad as me they will not last as long as the normal battles anyway.
The whole game is full of silly humour, from your droid being only able to speak to your mouthy ship with bleeps and bloops, to the fact that your currency consists of strawberries and silly sound effects. Some of it lands well, a lot is a bit low brow, but it all comes together to set the tone for the game which is just a bit of fun. So even the silly things that are not funny, still have their place in the game as a whole.
The Levels in the game are quite small in size and I found that made it feel a little claustrophobic, especially as the waves of enemies increase. I am not sure if it is bad Level design, or just the hectic nature of the game but I found that ramped up the difficulty at times unnecessarily and it can be quite frustrating at times. The Levels almost seem about half the size they should be.
Ultimately I was very impressed with McDroid. It is far from a mind blowing experience, but it is a very fun albeit frustrating at times game. It takes something we know in the tower defense game, gives it unique quirks in the gameplay by making you a character that has to place defenses and collect resources and on top of that, a very nice coat of paint.
Released: March 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer, Tower Defence
Publisher: Grip Digital