The 3D Platformer is a type of video game that we haven’t seen as much of recently. Sure, Nintendo still produces a new Mario game ever half-decade or so, and there’s still the annual reskin re-release of LEGO Star Wars. But otherwise, the genre has largely been ignored by gaming publishers big and small.
But there have been a few attempts by smaller dev teams to bring the genre back from the dead, with Macbat 64 being one such example. The game takes a clear inspiration from the old Rareware platformers of the Nintendo 64, with the characters inhabiting the world of Macbat feeling much like those of Banjo Kazooie. The title character of Macbat’s design is particularly endearing, and I await the fanart I’ll find of him on image boards. And the game’s graphics emulate those of the Nintendo 64 well, while still looking aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Unfortunately, the game itself is far from the greatness found with the platformers that it was inspired by. The levels are simply far too small, often only taking a number of minutes to complete. The gameplay consists entirely of collecting various items and bringing them back to one of the NPCs, all of which stand perfectly still while they wait for you to complete your task.
Macbat has only one offensive attack, which is rarely used, as enemies are rather scarce. The few times that you do encounter something which can actually damage you, they just teleport you back to the start without even a sound effect or animation to show that Macbat was damaged in any way. And since that’s the only penalty for colliding with an enemy, navigating your way around enemies isn’t as exciting as with other games.
The controls, while not rebindable, do allow for multiple keys for the same action. However, the main mechanic of the game, flying through the air, doesn’t feel as well compared to other 3D Platformers. The initial jump isn’t nearly as high as it should’ve been, so you have to press the Ctrl button multiple times to get any real height. At one points during the course of Macbat, the gameplay shifts to a kart racing stage. The driving mechanics are lackluster, but thankfully the level can be completed regardless of which place you finish the race in.
Macbat 64 took me a little over an hour to complete to 100%, including all the bonus levels and finding all the secret Kiwi statues. Two of the bonus levels have a strong element of horror to them… or at least they would, if there was an actual risk of Macbat dying. There’s only one boss fight at the very end of the game, but defeating him simply involves a couple puzzles and a single jumping challenge.
Macbat 64 is $4.99 on Steam, and even at that low price, I can only recommend it to gamers who desperately want a new 3D Platformer game. For everyone else, I’d suggest waiting for the game to go on sale before purchasing. Though I do hope Siactro’s does make another game, perhaps a sequel to this one that improves on its failings.