Mega Coin Squad is a new release on the Xbox One and was developed by Big Pixel Studios. In its simplest form it is an old school, 2D platforming arcade title that features fast-paced and chaotic gameplay from the get go. There is definitely a resurgence of these deceptively simple titles that have being produced (mainly by indie developers), so much so that the marketplace is saturated with these low res titles, all of which are baying for position. In today’s market, when every man and his dog are making 16-bit style games, titles need to do more than ever to stand out. A quirky art style, early 90’s music and sharp sound effects aren’t enough to make a game stand out. Mega Coin Squad had me worried that this trend has gone too far, but I was perhaps a little too eager in my decision.

Mega Coin Squad doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a good thing for the flood of arcade games that we have been getting recently. It is a 16-bit game so there is only so much that can be done on a visual basis, I feel that Big Pixel Games have taken a few liberties with “borrowing” elements from the Mario franchise, it may just be me but it just seemed a bit “on the nose”.  It is a colourful game and it’s not bad to look at but it doesn’t stand out on its aesthetic and instead relies on its gameplay.

mega-coin-squad-1I started off with the single player mode and I have to admit, I wasn’t enamoured with it. You can choose to play as half a dozen characters ranging from a martial arts expert to a robot unicorn (why the hell not?). Each character has slightly different stats such as speed, power etc. that will change the play style slightly, it’s not overly important but there is a noticeable difference. As you start the game with your chosen character, we are given a short cinematic that shows the specific backstory for them. It’s not overly detailed and doesn’t add anything to the actual game but it is nice that an attempt at a story has been made. As a member of the Mega Coin Squad, you are tasked with playing through sixteen levels, over four separate zones. Each zone has a different set of environments ranging from the iconic Sonic countryside in the Green Valley through desert and ice levels, before finally ending in a fire/lava zone. For the most part, Mega Coin Squad will task the player with collecting a certain amount of coins (pulled straight from Mario Bros) while avoiding damage from enemies and the environment. To add a little depth into the gameplay each level has three objectives: complete the level in a certain amount time, don’t get hit and deposit all coins into the huge piggy bank at once. If you succeed in completing one or all of these objectives you get the chance to upgrade your character’s abilities. Okay so it is pretty bare bones as far as games go and while I was playing through the levels I couldn’t help but feel this was more like a free App that I would get to kill some time, rather than a title for a console. The gameplay is chaotic and fast paced, a real throwback to the early arcade games that the older gamer will be more than familiar with. To help you on your quest for coins you will be able to unlock weapons that can be found in special boxes, weapons like machine guns, rocket launchers and all kinds of explosives can be used to kill enemies and destroy parts of the environment that will grant you more coins. Each weapon only has a certain number of shots and there’s no ammo counter, this proved a problem for me more than once as I jumped towards a group of enemies (like a true badass) only to run out of ammo and land a sitting duck. I was completely underwhelmed by the single player mode and with frequent difficulty spikes, the early nostalgia that I felt vanished and I struggled to find many positives with the game.

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The single player is repetitive and playing the same 16 levels (many of which only take a minute or two to complete) multiple times left me entirely deflated. It was at this point that Mega Coin Squad turned from a disappointing and lackluster game into a great local party experience.

I had been looking at Mega Coin Squad all wrong, I had thought it was a single-player game with a multiplayer mode when in fact; it is a multiplayer game with a single-player mode. You can play with up to three friends in the local multiplayer in what has to be one of the most frantic, energetic and chaotic experiences I can recall playing. The multiplayer mode shakes up the standard “collect coins” objective from the single player and adds modes like “Deathmatch” and a kind of “Domination” where you have to carry a spawning coin until you gain enough points to win. There is plenty of variety in these matches that really builds the enjoyment of Mega Coin Squad to what the developers were aiming for. It may ruin some friendships with last minute kills or steals, but it is a hell of an exciting game to play with some friends.

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I misinterpreted the game and for the first hour or two of play I was seriously dissatisfied with it, the single player has its problems with frequently poor hit detection and somewhat clunky navigation through tight areas of the map. With only a handful of levels to play though it can be completed in less than an hour. But that isn’t what Mega Coin Squad is about. The multiplayer is the star of the show and with fast paced gameplay and the natural competition that builds when trying to beat your buddies; it is a fantastic party game. It’s just a shame that there is no online multiplayer available.

 

FINAL THOUGHT—

Mega Coin Squad is a great multiplayer party game that pays a real homage to the early arcade platformers of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The fast-paced gameplay is great fun when playing with friends but it lacks any real replayability or depth in the single player mode. The single player mode is plagued with poor hit detection and frequent difficulty spikes that ruin the fun, however the local multiplayer makes up for these flaws in earnest. It won’t win any awards but Mega Coin Squad can be a blast when you play with some buddies.

 

  • Graphics – 62/100
  • Audio— 65/100
  • Gameplay—76/100
  • Replayability—71/100
  • Value For Money— 33/100

Overall – 61.4

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