Mecapix, from Robotalism Games, is an innovative and highly entertaining mash-up of genres. Take some Tetris-like puzzle pieces, add some shooter action, the likes of Galaga, and throw in the pattern recognition found in something like Donkey Kong, and you can begin to envision what to expect in Mecapix. The game is obviously a loving homage to the classics of the 80s; however, like many of those favorites, the difficulty of Mecapix can be unforgiving for those not willing to give it their maximum attention.
Mecapix is a simple concept at its core. Various arrangements of blocks (called Mecas) fall from the top of the screen. The player must draw his or her own block figures (PIXes) at the bottom of the screen to send upwards and combat the falling arrangements. For each block that gets past your defenses, you lose a life. Lose too many lives, and it’s game over. Simple, yes, but Mecapix intensifies the complexity as you progress through the levels.
To start, you cannot simply fire an endless array of blocks upward. A Pix Points counter in the corner of the screen limits the amount of blocks you can draw. Draw too many blocks too quickly, and your firepower will be temporarily disabled. Additionally, the “enemy” block clusters become increasingly more complicated as the game advances, culminating with boss battles at the end of each world.
Thankfully, many of these enemy clusters also have a weakness. Found within many of the large Mecas are power-ups to be used to your advantage. Much of the fun of the game is in discovering these powers and using them to their maximum potential. However, sometimes that maximum potential will not be easily recognizable.
This fact is perhaps the game’s one weakness. The Mecas often come toward you at a frantic pace, and determining the correct method for utilizing the power-ups before you have died a time or seven can be challenging. Like in the best iPhone puzzle games, once you do decipher the patterns and the best way to proceed, you will feel like a genius. I found this degree of difficulty as an incentive to play the game more. That “One more try” mentality was very much present, but for those used to playing more relaxed games, be forewarned that it may take several frustrating deaths before you reach your epiphany.
Overall, Mecapix is a blast to play. The simple, colorful visuals and catchy soundtrack draw you in to its unique puzzle-shooter world. The drawing mechanic is a brilliant use of the iPhone’s touch screen, giving the retro-inspired game a very tactile, modern feel. As mentioned, the game does demand and reward your full attention. Even once you have figured out the best way to survive, it will take several more tries before you can start increasing your high score. With three full worlds and an endurance mode, Mecapix is a great value. If you’re looking for a retro challenge with a modern touch, Mecapix is a fantastic choice.
iPwnGames Score: 4/5