Mevo and the Grooveriders was a title that I had never heard of, made by a studio that had never crossed my eyes before. However I was excited to do this review because one of the big advantages to the PC side of gaming is that there are so many small studios coming out with fantastic little games, that if I get a chance to spread some positive word of mouth I am more than happy to do so. When it comes to Mevo and the Grooveriders all I have to say is this…. 2008 had Audiosurf and by god 2009 has this little gem.
Mevo as I will call for the rest of this review, is what happens when you take the customization of your avatar from LittleBigPlanet, the platforming of Mario, Guitar Heroe, and the funky tunes of your parents then decided to throw it into a bucket and see what happens. The game is about a funk band that has most of its members captured by a real sour puss who doesn’t like their music. You play Mevo a single eyed dancing platformer who will travel through many environments in the quest to free his friends.
When it comes to describing the gameplay that’s found in this title it’s a little strange, you don’t platform in the normal sense, you use two keys of your choice, a left and a right key, and your character will begin running and jumping. Your job as the player is to hit the arrows (either left, right, or both) at the right time, to rack up points, keep his health high and defeat enemies. Now when I describe it that way it doesn’t sound all that fun, but as soon as you start playing you’re going to find yourself having a blast. Arrows that you get right play another piece of the levels overall funky theme music while wrong or missed arrows will mute the note and take away some health.
To progress to the next level you just have to survive till the end, however each level has a record, silver, gold, and platinum, with each record comes a harder challenge, stuff like getting 100 funk, only missing 5 arrows or getting a 200 000 score. To move on to the next world you’ll have to get at least one platinum record, but if you’re like me you’ll want to get them all just to say you can, that and well… The other big thing about the game is the customization that you get to enjoy with your Mevo, by finishing levels, or doing a section perfect and unlocking secret routes or doing the hard path you unlock new dance moves, new types of dances and new outfits.
Right now my Mevo has a Mr T haircut, and is wearing a mime costume. Some of the stuff you unlock is just for looks, the head pieces are just for show, as are the dances, but the costumes give you a power up that all the later levels usually allow you to activate, sometimes the power is shield so you take no damage, sometimes a combo multiplier or a score one, or auto pilot which plays the game for you for a short time. To get the harder records you’re going to need know which costume to wear for each level adding a little strat into your funk-tastic time.
Visually the game is a treat, while its no Crysis it has the same flair that WoW has, in the sense that the appeal of the graphics is from the art style and not the number of polygons its pushing out. Each level follows a theme and each level is a different part of the overall theme, so you may find yourself in the jungle world, and one level is a rainforest like level, while the next has you in an ancient civilization. All of this done from a semi 2D perspective ala LBP, but without the weird depth perception part. The music though is easily the best part of the game, the songs are a mix of techno, funk and a big of rock-pop, to many times did a find myself bobbing around to the beat looking like an idiot. My favourite song is easily the one found in the third water level, its flow and beat work so perfectly with the level that I wished it was part of a real song. I also found myself switching up my Mevo’s dance style just so that it would fit better with songs, I even Ballet once or twice but don’t tell anyone.
Overall though Mevo and the Grooveriders is a fantastic little game, it has so much charm to it, and a pretty original gameplay idea that works, that you’re going to find yourself having fun playing regardless if you’re a FPS veteran or a boyfriend/girlfriend who got suckered into trying it in the hopes of getting you a gaming addiction. I gave this game the Mom test, and when I had to pull the plug on my computer to get her to stop and finally go back to her home I knew we had a winner.