To be perfectly honest, at first, I thought this game was absolutely horrible. I had only played for 40-50 minutes so I assumed the rest of the game was going to be like what I had experienced in that brief amount of time. The general impression I got was that it was all very simple. The graphics, the gameplay, and even the lack of options to at least alter the game’s BGM/sound effects. Still, I always want to beat a game before I review it or at the very least experience enough of it so that I can feel confident in my ability to competently review it.
Seeing as how I wanted to give the game more of a chance before I started to write my review, I kept playing more and more of it until I felt that I had seen enough/got the hang of it by around the near nine-hour mark. As I continued to play the game, I often asked myself if I was playing the game because I actually enjoyed it or if I simply felt compelled to play more of it since that’s just what I do. Surprisingly, it’s because I ended up enjoying the game. This is one of those games that gets better the more you play and realize how things work. This is a good thing because some games start to get boring the more you play them. I’m sure some will eventually feel that way with this game, but it wasn’t like that with me.
This is one of those games that gets better the more you play
Even though this game is heavily flawed, it’s not totally bad. It’s not great, but it’s also not the worst thing I’ve ever played. It could be improved upon to become a good game, it just requires a lot of polish and a chance to realize what the game wants out of you and what needs to be done to be enjoyed. In its current state, the game is decent and will be enjoyed by some. At the same time, I predict many will have similar experiences with the game as I initially did, but the thing is I see them not giving it a second chance. While not being a must play game, I still think it has some worthwhile elements that’ll keep you entertained for a few hours.
MP 1.5 is an endless “runner” type game with gameplay like Gradius and the airplane levels in Cuphead. One main difference between this game and those is that this game doesn’t offer as much control as they do. What I mean is that so much of what goes on in this game is automatic. You don’t feel very in control of what goes on, a lot feels very random.
You have to destroy enemies and rocks one after the other before you automatically unleash a special combo attack, but I feel as if things would be better if I could store these combo attacks for moments like a challenging boss fight or an instance in which the screen is full of too many enemies/rocks to be able to dodge. There is one special offensive ability that is stored, but it’s very limited and you have to purchase it. The combo attacks in this game are pretty much unlimited, but you have to work towards getting them and you can at times end up using them even if you didn’t mean to.
The game is endless as long as you survive. If you take too much damage, you’ll eventually die. Besides the first boss, you can ignore the other two bosses by not flying into them and you can keep playing. I did this, and I ended up getting an S ranking during one of my runs. High score junkies/marathoners will really enjoy this part of the game, but if anything, adding a time meter to see how long your runs last would make things a bit more interesting.
The endless nature of this game is confusing because if you ignore the bosses you can just keep playing, but at the same time I assume that if there are bosses present, then you must be able to beat the game and in that sense it’s not really endless. As it stands, the bosses come off as a sort of transition point/marker from one “level” to another. If anything, dealing with the bosses leads to a lot of confusion. You can beat the first two bosses in pretty much the same way, but the “elite” boss, which I assume is the last one, doesn’t receive damage from doing what you‘ve done in previous fights. It left me thinking if it was really my fault that this boss wasn’t being damaged at all or if something is up with the game.
As you go through the bosses, the later areas are more difficult to get through as the number of enemies you deal with vastly increases. Based on what the creators of this game said, the reward for beating all the bosses is a special cut scene. This game didn’t really make me want to learn more about its back story/lore, so a special cut scene doesn’t really sound that special to me. Seeing as how the creators of this game labelled it as endless, I treated it as such and from everything I saw after having played it for nearly 9 hours, I feel as if I can competently discuss what it has to offer.
For the most part, you deal with two kinds of enemies, flies that can be destroyed by flying into them (you fly into them and your avatar automatically slashes/cuts them) and pigs that can mainly be destroyed with the use of your “shield”, but you can also use special abilities/combos to take them out. The game would be better if you had more control over the combat rather than just flying into enemies and automatically taking them out.
Flying into objects/enemies being what causes so many things to happen feels like it’s too much. I’d rather have to press different specific button combinations to unleash what I want, kind of like how the boss fights will tell you things like “press the LT + RT now!”. This is especially evident with the special combo abilities. They remind me of the special partners in Marvel vs Capcom 1, but in that game, you specifically controlled when the attack was released. To some extent you can control that in this game, but it’s not as fully controllable as I would’ve liked for it to have been.
There’s a bit of a learning period in this game. It looks simple, but there’s more to it than flying around and running into things. There’s a brief tutorial that explains things to you, but you can expand on what’s learned to make the gameplay deeper than it initially appears to be. Even after nearly 9 hours of play time, I learned how to deal more damage against bosses to get through them much faster. The benefit of this is that I’m able to encounter the other bosses much sooner and with more health.
Still, the game is heavily flawed in many ways. One thing that really aggravates me is how you can be damaged without actually getting hit. I don’t know if that’s an immediate result from not hitting the prompted buttons during a boss fight (it’s the only time in which this occurs), but it happens. I honestly don’t know if this is player or the game’s fault. I say this because certain parts of the game feel incomplete. It doesn’t help that the game’s shop menu states how more item options are soon to come, and I don’t know if that means it’ll eventually be patched in or if it was simply left that way.
As you fly through the game, you’re able to heal yourself by collecting two different kinds of chests that are both “red” (they look yellow) and blue. The thing is, you must collect three of the same color chests in a row to get an extra heart for your health meter. If you collect different colored chests one after the other, you lose points and you won’t end up gaining more health. I don’t exactly know the max amount of hearts that your health meter has, but you’re able to gain a lot, which is especially helpful when you reach later areas during a long run.
What’s really interesting about the collecting of these chests is that they’re randomly scattered about, and you have to alter your flight patterns to collect them. I specifically use the term flight pattern because in this game you fly. It seems a bit weird, mainly because in other games with similar gameplay you’re in a plane, but in this one you’re a flying character. As a result of that, things are made interesting because you’ll end up following different flight patterns as your run goes on, you can’t stick to flying in the same way or you’ll end up being damaged.
Throughout your run you’ll also encounter three mini games. A slot machine where you have to at least match up twice to get coins or more health and two shooting gallery type mini games where you’re mainly taking out flying rocks and flies. The main point of these mini games is to offer something slightly different from the main gameplay, but it also works to reward you by offering coins and more health if you are successful in accomplishing what they ask of you. Even though they’re interesting the first few times you play them, they quickly get very boring. After having played through every mini game multiple times, I started to avoid them and only felt the need to play them when I needed more health. The problem with this is that not every mini game offers health so most of the time you’re forced to play something you don’t really want to.
MP 1.5 is a game where its graphics/visuals vary a lot. The art/visuals looking great in some areas and looking bad in most of the others is a bit frustrating. This is especially noticeable with the game’s intro. Its absolutely stunning pixel art in the intro looks like it could’ve easily been part of the SNES’s heyday and it made me wish the entire game looked like that, (kind of how some anime has great animated intros while also having crap animation during the rest of the show) but at the same time, the rest of the game just looks very bland.
The backgrounds/areas in the game do vary based on how much progress you’ve made, going from a largely outdoorsy looking area to one that looks more like a castle area. Besides that, they don’t look good at all. It looks as if it’s been zoomed in and it leaves me thinking that it would’ve looked a lot better if it had more detail or was simply zoomed out. I know those aren’t the most technical terms, but that’s the impression I got from having played this game.
Due to the game’s rough looking backgrounds, my first thought was that the game felt and looked like a simple flash game that you’d find on newgrounds. That was one of the first things that made me feel that this game was more of a mobile game meant for smartphones. I doubt all of this would be that noticeable on a smaller screen, but since I do play on a 27 in 1440p/144hz monitor, every flaw is more noticeable. I realize graphics, art, and the overall visuals aren’t as important as gameplay, but at the end of the day, presentation matters.
Some games are done in such a way that you end up interested in the lore, even if it’s not presented in an obvious way, much like Dark Souls, but this game isn’t like that. I know that there’s a story behind the game, mainly because there are comic book chapters that go along with the game, which the developers refer to the whole combination of game/comic as being trans-media, but its overall gameplay doesn’t make me interested in what’s going on. There are instances of storytelling in the game, mainly through brief statements from your combo specialists, but they’re very few and far apart. The intro has some comic book panels that give you a brief intro (extremely brief, they go by very fast and give you a small window of time to read them) as to what’s going on, but after that, there’s not much present during the actual gameplay.
Despite the setting and what’s offered to you before you start playing, this game didn’t really motivate me to look deeper into the lore. Plus, I can play through the game without really having to know the in-depth story. It can basically be summed up as your kingdom is under attack and you have to defend it. I don’t want to disparage the game, but what it offers through its gameplay is similar to Tetris. What I mean is that Tetris is a game that’s fully about its gameplay, there are no story elements at all and MP 1.5 is similar by having 80-90% of it being just about the gameplay. It can get pretty intricate with what you can do and how you approach what needs to be done, but knowing or not knowing the story being presented won’t hold you back from enjoying the game. I’m sure it’ll interest some people and it may make them seek out the comic book chapters, but I don’t see that happening with the average player of this game.
Seeing as how collecting coins/jewels is a big part of this game, it’d make sense that the point of collecting these valuables is to use them to make purchases in the shop menu. Still, the shopping system in this game feels a bit weird. You can use coins to buy upgrades, which make the game a bit easier to deal with, but they eventually become useless if you buy too many of the low-level upgrades (score multipliers, start with more hearts at the beginning of the game).
You eventually have to collect jewels, which more or less replace coins, but it’s not very clear how it works. You can collect some found scattered throughout the “levels” and by completing objectives, but it takes a long time before you’re able to have enough to buy something that will help you in attempting to get through this game’s bosses or just have a higher score. As I previously mentioned, I played this game for around nine hours, but even then, all the coins and jewels I had collected wasn’t enough to buy the companion that’s offered in this game. I really wanted to make that purchase because I figured it would’ve made the bosses a lot easier to deal with.