Macbat 64 is a charming, retro inspired indie game by developer Siactro that promises a lot but falls short of its goals far too often.
Jumping in I was instantly greeted with feelings of nostalgia, perhaps because Macbat 64 tries to replicate the feelings of playing classical Nintendo 64 platformers, right down to it’s Soundtrack and visuals. The biggest and most obvious influence on this game though is easily Banjo Kazooie. All the npc characters are cute and adorable, even inanimate objects sometimes have big googly eyes and communicate with you.
Macbat’s graphics emulate perfectly those of games from the 90’s which I found much delight in, even though a lot of people wont look as kindly at them. A pity because they are beautiful.
There isnt much of story and its quite easy to forget the game even has one, as you are only treated to a few short cutscenes after every few levels. Basically the story starts with you finding out that a water factory that produces all the world’s water has stopped working, but to get in to investigate you have to first collect 6 keys scattered around the world to gain entry. That’s about it unfortunately, there is a villain behind things but he’s never really given much screen time. This could be due to the Macbat’s short length which I’ll get to in a bit.
Macbat’s gameplay is broken down into exploring each of the 10 worlds (with an additional 3 available after completing the story) and completing a few tasks, such as collecting a certain amount of an item or completing a few puzzles (sadly all of which aren’t exactly what you might call hard) Most of the levels are small 3d worlds with the exception of 2 levels that take on a side scrolling platformer mode, a level that ends in a top down car racing game and one level that is a homage to Mario Kart. The levels are perhaps too small though and most can be completed incredibly quickly, never taking more than a few minutes.
One level did stand out above all others for me, Tubular City. Its full of references to the 80s and even contains a few playable arcade games (easy, but still fun and charming) Its just a pity the rest of the worlds weren’t up to the same standard as this one.
Sadly the gameplay lacks any sort of difficulty. Puzzles never challenge you, and platforming becomes obsolete when your character can fly quite a bit before getting tired and needing to take a rest. Of all the levels in the Macbat, only one offered any sort of challenge, and that level isn’t available till after the completion of the story. It should be noted too that Macbat is a very short game, even taking my time to absorb all the environments I barely clocked in over an hour, which is sure to be off putting for some.
Despite all this, I found myself rather charmed by the game’s aesthetic. It’s delightfully reminiscent of the games from my childhood. Its just a pity that none of the ideas present here were ever fully expanded on. I also felt as if my hand was being held the whole time I played, which was a bit insulting. It also feels odd that the game is so easy when it’s clearly trying to emulate the old N64 games. Macbat would probably be enjoyed more by very young children, not that there’s anything wrong with that, just probably not going to appeal much to the audience it feels like Macbat is aiming to appease.
Despite the easy gameplay and lack of replayability I did somewhat enjoy myself with Macbat 64, and I certainly look forward to seeing more from the developer.
Release Date - March 17, 2017
Review code provided by Siactro