Chances are, if you don't really pay attention to mobile games, you haven't yet heard of Big Pixel Studios. They've found success as the developers behind hit iOS titles such as Land-a Panda
, Piyo Blocks 2
, and Meow Meow Happy Fight
, as well as a number of licensed projects. Now, thanks to some publishing work by Adult Swim Games, Mega Coin Squad
has become Big Pixel Studios' first title to land on Xbox One. Whether or not it fits there or should have stuck to mobile is the question we're faced with when considering the game.
In Mega Coin Squad
, players are given the choice, initially, between five characters who have different ratings in attributes such as speed and jumping. Each one has their own back story for why they choose to join the Mega Coin Squad that comes down to the fact that they need some cash and can earn big bucks by doing so. After deciding that Mega Coin Squad life is the life for them, they take off on a boat to an island where there are four worlds, each containing four levels.
Oh, look! Nostalgia map!
Most of the game's levels are all about grabbing coins. The player's job is to jump, dash, and fire weapons to avoid enemies while snapping up all the coins they can before returning them to the Piggy Bank situated in the middle of the level. The stages are randomly generated, so the game doesn't play the same way twice, which is good since it has to be replayed so many times in order to experience all it has to offer. Every fourth level is an enemies-only stage, where the point is to take them all down to earn the Mega Coin, which is then deposited in the Piggy Bank.
During each stage, with the exception of the enemy levels, players can earn up to three gems - one for not losing any lives (this essentially means don't get hit), one for banking all the coins in a single go (as opposed to playing more safely and banking coins whenever a good opportunity presents itself), and one for completing the stage in a certain time limit. With each gem, players receive the ability to strike a block that randomly goes through five power ups, including double jumping, limiting the amount of coins lost when an enemy successfully strikes (yes, much like Sonic the Hedgehog
games, coins fly out of the squad member's possession once they're hit), and weapons upgrades.
Feeding the Piggy Bank
Now, here's the deal with this title. That description may sound like a lot, but unfortunately, in practice, it isn't. This shallow gameplay and lack of variety is chief among Mega Coin Squad
's shortcomings. While the six characters do handle differently, after power-ups are gained, they become pretty samey. While having an assortment of weapons is nice, there should have been more done to differentiate the characters through the use of weapons. Chunk, the game's heavy, can be expected to use heavier artillery while Data, a robot, uses more electrical devices, for example. Instead of having all characters have the ability to gain skills like the coin spawner (coins will generate as the character moves for a short period) or invincibility, why not restrict those so only certain character types can earn them? Little moves like that, which wouldn't have cost extra development time, would keep the game fresh instead of feeling like the player is about to venture on doing the same exact thing for the fifth or sixth time. Even the gem collecting is repetitive as the three tasks are the same for every level. There seems to be little reason why those couldn't have had more variety, such as, potentially, earning a gem for not hitting any spikes, or one for not firing a weapon during the course of the level.
Another big negative to the game is that when the game starts to get too fast and frantic, especially in later levels were more enemies with more moving parts are present, the game just can't keep up, leading to many unfair deaths. There are few things worse than when the player finds themselves finally having that good run only to have their character blink out and reappear in a lava bed. Another issue encountered during the course of the review was save data being dropped. This may have more to do with the Xbox One more-or-less being asleep when off, but on more than one occasion, upon returning to the game, progress had been lost. In fact, while all the character-specific achievements were earned in the course of preparing for this review, one of the characters does not reflect that the campaign was completed with them. The game's short nature means this wasn't a huge loss, but it's still a problem that shouldn't be present.
Watch out for that spiky guy.
While there are a number of negatives, the game still is mostly fun. Collecting coins is fast paced and the randomization does keep the game feeling different, which is necessary given all the playthroughs. There are just so many small things that could have been done to make the campaign a better, more robust experience that it's hard to see beyond them. Of course, this is probably a result of the developer's history as a mobile-game maker than a failing of the development team, but it does impact the experience on a console.
In Multiplayer, you'll go further if you choose your power-ups wisely.
One of the major draws of Mega Coin Squad
is intended to be its multiplayer, and it does deliver in that regard. The game includes four types of MP games - Catch the Rainbow, Deathmatch, Mega Coin, and Collect the Coins. They can be played in best-of-five matches and game types that are not preferred can be removed from the randomizer. It's a lot of fun to play when sitting with up to three friends locally and, since the level of gameplay is randomized just like any campaign level, one errant bullet can cause a dominant player to lose all their coins and open the game for anyone to win. Like many ID@Xbox title, the MP is limited to local only. While it is fun in that capacity, not having the ability to play it over LIVE is very restricting, and will mean that many people won't even give the multiplayer a look. Also, not a single achievement is attached to that game mode, so there's literally zero reason for achievement hunters who only have one Xbox One controller to ever select that menu option.
Grab a friend and play together, just don't take losing personally.
The game includes 22 achievements, all of which are earned in the Single Player campaign. There are four achievements for conquering each world. Each character you beat the game with unlocks an achievement for accomplishing that task, so that's another five spoken for. Two achievements are related to gem collecting - one for getting all of them in one leve
and another for collecting all the gems in the game
. This isn't too bad as you can go back to earlier levels with your improved character, though keep in mind that once you complete the final level, the game starts over with no weapon or item carryover, so clean up everything before tackling the final level. There are also somewhat grindy achievements for collecting coins. Each run through will net about 7,000 to 9,000 coins, so collecting 10,000
will come naturally and 50,000
should fall either shortly after the game is complete or toward one of the final runs. Collecting 100,000 coins
, however, will take some time, but provides an opportunity to go for the No Death
or Speed Run
achievements if those haven't been earned yet. There is one secret achievement
, but it is not a difficult one to earn. All told, the game is very completable, but not without playing it until everything has been seen many times over.
Like many ID@Xbox games, Mega Coin Squad
's initial tactic is to draw gamers in with nostalgia by making the level select look just like the level select in Super Mario World
that is so easily recognizable. Comparisons to games of yesteryear end there, however, as what Mega Coin Squad
boils down to is a repetitive, largely uninspired campaign that can be dashed through in under a half hour. There is some fun to be had in the campaign, and even more so to be found in the Multiplayer, but considering many people who will be checking in here for thoughts on the game either play with achievements in mind or don't have a second controller, the MP doesn't do enough to push the game above "it's just ok" status.
As a mobile game at a low price, Mega Coin Squad
would be a good grab and nice-little diversion for thirty minutes or less. As a full-fledged ID title commanding a $15 price tag, the game doesn't deliver enough for most people to find it worth the investment. If you have local friends to play with, that will boost your enjoyment of it and its longevity. Otherwise, unless you're a big fan of platformers with randomly generated parts, this one can easily be skipped.
- Pixel art looks good
- Fun multiplayer
- Frame rate drops causing unfair deaths
- Very repetitive
- General lack of variety
The reviewer spent approximately 15 hours playing the single player campaign six times and dabbling in multiplayer, earning 19 of the game's 22 achievements. This Xbox One copy of the game was supplied by the publisher for review.