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Megatroid came to Android recently, offering what will likely be the closest thing to a Metroid game we’ll ever see on mobile. There are a few things that make Megatroid much more than that though, including procedurally-created levels which ensure a fresh play-through every time, and a wide variety of high-tech weaponry than can be acquired through the course of gameplay or through in-app purchases.

For a free game, the graphics and action in Megatroid are excellent, rich with neon lighting and plenty of 3D models (despite the game’s side-scrolling nature).

Graphics and audio

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Megatroid earns high marks for graphics. There are lots of barrels that the main character tips over the edge at the front of the screen when moving through a level, and many decorative stage elements that pass by in the foreground and background. The lighting effects really highlight the high-energy sci-fi feel of the game, and complement the firefights players engage in.

Character portraits in the dialog screen aren’t nearly as polished as the excellent 3D graphics throughout the game. Speaking of which, the few bits of dialog that prod along the story aren’t particularly exciting or well-written, though you’re probably less concerned with that as you are with blowing up some robots in a game like this. As for the user interface, it’s mostly crisp and clean, but in some parts of the menu system fonts were jagged on my Galaxy Nexus.

The soundtrack has a really great retro 8-bit feel to it, and though that can get grating over the course of extended gaming sessions, it mostly kept me pumped. 

Gameplay and controls

The controls are relatively simple, and the large virtual buttons help keep things moving along quickly. Shooting at targets accurately can be tricky without the ability to alter angle or crouch. Many of the usual platformer trappings are present, including wall sliding and double-jumping. Enemies are varied with a bunch of different attack patterns, and boss fights truly test your mettle.

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As you blow up ‘bots, they drop credits, which you can spend on guns and armor, which can alter damage, health, jump height, and other statistics. Through in-app purchases, players can buy premium currency which can be used on high-grade equipment, or simply supplement their credit balance to accelerate standard progress. Throughout gameplay you earn experience points and level up, but I’m not sure to what end - you don’t earn new abilities aside from what’s bought through equipment.

Pros

  • Great platforming action
  • Excellent sci-fi-themed graphics

Cons

  • Uncaptivating story

Conclusion

Free

Megatroid does a great job of on pulling on the heartstrings of nostalgic Metroid fans, and adds lots of new stuff to the mix to keep the idea of a sci-fi side-scroller fresh. There are still a few kinks in the menu system, and you won’t be particularly compelled by the storyline, but the graphics are sharp, and music sets the perfect mood. The IAP purchase model isn’t obnoxious, though it would be better to have all items accessible with the same currency, and simply make the really good stuff really expensive in order to push in-app purchases.

Considering it’s free, Megatroid is at the very least worth the download. Who knows, maybe the endless pit of randomly-generated levels will keep you continually entertained for longer than expected.

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