IMPRESSIONS: Megabyte Punch on Switch

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

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I had really high hopes for Megabyte Punch. Granted I was being optimistic cause I liked the game’s visual flair, but I’ve made bigger gambles that have turned out well before. And honestly, I think the reason I was looking forward to trying Megabyte Punch is cause part of me thought it could be something I’ve searched fervently for – a successor to Custom Robo. Ever since I played Custom Robo on the Gamecube what feels like a lifetime ago, I was hooked. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it had cool graphics, an interesting premise and lots of replayability. The latter was due to the customization part of the game. And it looked like Megabyte Punch could check some of those boxes.

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Unfortunately, Megabyte Punch didn’t quite reach that lofty goal. I mean sure, you can customize your Megac robot with the parts taken from defeated bots, which is inherently cool to me. I like the visual style of the game too. But it breaks down a bit in the actual execution. I didn’t know initially that the Switch version of this game was based on a Steam game originally released years ago, but in many ways it shows. While attractive, the graphics definitely look a bit aged. But that doesn’t actually bother me. What does is how Megabyte Punch isn’t well optimized for Switch.

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If the developers spent a bit more time making sure Megabyte Punch was thoroughly well optimized for this console, I would spend copious hours playing it. But unfortunately, it just doesn’t mesh that well because the controls are awkward. To be fair, you can map different parts to different buttons, allowing for some flexibility. But you cannot change the preset controls, and for whatever reason the jump button is mapped to Y. Which is more than a bit confusing. I do like changing up parts and attacking with drill bits and machine guns. But I just can’t get past not being able to alter the default controls.

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Now, even with that issue, I still spent several hours playing through a few levels. I can forgive a lot if the gameplay is fun. And while that’s nominally true here, it’s hurt by more awkward design. It’s evident Megabyte Punch was inspired in part by Smash Bros. You can shield to block attacks, have multiple jumps and can do things like wall jump. And the more damage you’ve taken, the farther you’ll fly. The goal is to damage foes so much they go careening into oblivion. Which admittedly was fun the first time. But when you factor in the game also has destructible environments, you have a problem. More than once I accidentally broke part of the environment, and fell to my death. I was constantly afraid I’d lock myself into a room by accident. I really think the game would have benefited from more linear stage design. And much as I’d like to say the boss fights fix everything, they sadly don’t.

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Every boss fight takes place in a limited yet large arena. You trade blows and try and get your opponent beat up enough to fly to their death. Problem is, they always have multiple lives. So you can’t just do it once, but more like 3 times. Keep in mind that before each boss, you have to get through their expansive stages full of foes. Many times I would get to the boss with just one life, and suffer the consequences. I really think the combat in Megabyte Punch could have been fantastic. If there was more diversity to how battles progressed and if the controls felt less clunky, this would have been tremendous. Sadly, it mostly felt like an anxious battle of attrition.

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To be fair, there’s lots of replayability in Megabyte Punch. You have local multiplayer options, tons of parts to collect, enjoyable music and art and even two bonus stages for this version of the game. It just doesn’t ever feel like it comes together, at least to my satisfaction. Maybe it’s jinxed as a potential Custom Robo successor, since every time I think I found one, it tends to disappoint me. But if you’re less picky than I am, there’s a lot of fun if awkward gameplay here for $19.99. And if nothing else, you can always use your amiibo collection to get custom color options for your Megac. Here’s hoping Team Reptile can learn from my well intentioned critiques and make the successor to Custom Robo we deserve.

Megabyte Punch | amiibo

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.