Monday 15 November 2021

Mega Cat Studio Collection 2 Review (Evercade)


The first Mega Cat collection was excellent. A real surprise, the collection of new games developed for retro systems had a selection of the Evercade handhelds best games on it with the real standout being the Strider inspired Tanzer. As such, this second collection of eight games has a lot to live up to.

It doesn’t get off to the best start with the first thing you see when you open the box being a leaflet letting you know that Roniu’s Tale wasn’t finished in time for the collection and will be patched in later via a system update. This is annoying as it’s exactly the kind of thing that the Evercade is meant to be avoiding. It’s also a shame as the few levels of the game that are included here in an extended demo show signs of it being a pretty good puzzle/maze style game.

Puzzle games, mostly with platform elements, form the real basis for this second collection. There is one pure platformer here in Devwill Too though. It’s ok but somewhat uninspired. The between level comic scenes are nice but the game repeats assets too much and just feels average all round. Still, at least it’s quite short.

The trio of puzzle platformers fair a lot better. Alter Ego is an excellent game where you have to control two versions of a character at once with you movement being mirrored. The key is to swapping back and forth to the ‘active’ version of your character at the right time in order to avoid traps and monsters. Some creatures and traps will kill your active dude while others will kill your non-active one so it’s a constant test of reflexes throughout and certainly a game we’d like to see more of in the future.

Gluf, is also an excellent game which puts a twist on the ‘paint all the blocks’ genre. Here you have to charge yourself up on a battery block then move over tiles to change their colour. If you run out of charge you have to go back to the block and charge up again. This starts out simple enough but once you get platforms involved which can only be stepped on a certain number of times it makes you really stop and plan a route around the levels. Yazzie follows a similar style but here you are collecting gold bars and need to consider how to use pick axes to remove blocks. There is also a bug in one of the later levels which make sit impassable so you’ll need a code in order to complete the game. This aside though, it’s also great fun and something well worth playing through.

The puzzling continues with Romeow and Julicat which is a cross between Tetris and Pipemania. Here you have a board where Tetris shapes need to be placed. The idea is you need to complete a certain amount of placements in order to complete the level. On later levels these can reach into the hundreds so the challenge comes in placing shape so that they form lines and disappear. This then means there is room to put more down. If you run out of space it’s game over. We would have liked the levels to be a bit shorter as it can be quite a slow game but it works well enough and you can always use the save states to take a break.

Misplaced, is another inventive attempt at a puzzle game. Here you view a single screen level from above and have to kind of draw lines and shapes with your character. Once you have done this the idea is to match the line up so it then reaches another part of the floating levels. Your character can then walk along the line to the new location. While doing this you also need to collect gems and avoid enemies. Sometimes the floor falls away as well just for extra peril. Again, it’s not quite perfect but works well enough as a fun distraction.

The one game here that stands out as being different from the rest is Arkagis Revolution. This is a top down maze blaster where you control a ship sent out on missions to blast stuff. It’s probably the most high profile game on the cart and it’s pretty solid. The gimmick with it is you can rotate the ship through 360 degrees as you zoom around in a sort of mode 7 style way. We would suggest playing around with the control settings as much as you can because the thing plays a whole lot better if you can get as much of the rotating on the Evercade shoulder buttons as possible. It can get a bit samey and you feel like you can’t quite see enough of the screen but its solid blasting action and doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Overall, the second Mega Cat Studio collection is pretty solid overall. It lacks a bit of the variety of the first cart and there’s nothing here as spectacular as Tanzer (but what is), but there is still more than enough here to justify the price tag. The lack of a complete Roniu’s Tale can’t be overlooked but we are hopeful that this will be addressed soon and the game itself seems decent. The three puzzle platformers and Arkagis Revolution are all great fun and the other games provide a good enough distraction. If Mega Cat Studios keeps up this level of quality we’ll be more than happy to have more carts from them in the future.


Alter Ego                                         4/5

Arkagis Revolution                        4/5

Devwill Too                                     2/5

Gluf                                                  4/5

Misplaced                                       3/5

Romeow and Julicat                      3/5

Roniu’s Tale                                    no score

Yazzie                                              4/5

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