Game Review: Megan And The Giant for iOS

Game Review: Megan And The Giant for iOS
1.5

Platforms:

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Game Name:

Game Review: Megan And The Giant for iOS

Developer(s):

Studio Pepwuper, Inc

Developer Summary:

Sneak, Hide, Run! Play hide-and-seek in the city of London in the latest family-friendly iPhone stealth action game “Megan and the Giant” released by Studio Pepwuper this February 2011!

In this first episode, you will be introduced to wonderful world of “Megan and the Giant.” Guide Megan, the curious, good natured, and talkative main character, on a journey to rescue a mysterious new friend. Sneak around London with the intuitive tap control, and outsmart the pursuers with strategic planning and the use of hilarious items!

Megan and the Giant title_screen

What We Think:

In researching what Pepwuper games had to say on their “About” page of their latest release, I found that they challenged passionately: “If video games doesn’t start branching out its reach, it’ll never be taken seriously as a legitimate form of entertainment. It’ll be such a waste if this new form of interactive artistic expression is not taken seriously!”

They bemoan: “Where is that game that explores romance, emptiness, and mid-life crisis? Where is that game that teaches kids and adults about humanity?”

Indeed – where is that game with different goals from the tiered game tropes and genres? Where is that game that explores the depth of the human experience?

I agree far too few titles achieve close to breaking new ground, so in the interest of giving it a chance I got as far as the second chapter, and came away realizing the answers were not to be found in this offering.

The basic idea seems to be a stage-based classic chase game with bits of story between the major chapters. I feel like extra attention to detail may have helped this game a lot as ultimately it lacked any of the things a game needs to be fun. From what I could tell, this game doesn’t express any of those notions mentioned at their site in the way it is executed.

Mise En Scene:

A jazzy soundtrack compliments the hand-drawn feel to sprites that are laid atop simplistic faux 3D backgrounds. The description on its own doesn’t sound too bad – not my normal cup of tea – but hey, could be fun.

Well, it isn’t.

All of the stylistic choices for the sprites and backgrounds make the game look unfinished, add to which the music sounds like it was selected at random. Some element of a parallax shift or some creative and fun 8-bit art, for example, may have proven far more effective. The 3D rendering of the background elements gave the game a 2.5D feel but without adding anything to the game play. The sprites’ movements and character animations looked very poor.

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Based on how the characters move, it appears the developers were going for something whimsical to support the premise, but it just made the characters drift about and move in an uncoordinated fashion. Running through the stages was too easy and I felt no sense of urgency, or even motivation.

Concept:

The biggest fault I found with the game, given the developer’s intent, was the story’s premise: I figure the story is aimed at a much younger audience, and my daughter likes iOS games, but I couldn’t get her interested either. The idea of a game set in London with palace guards and dogs that patrol the streets intent on bashing in the head of any little girl who may pass by is fine as a premise and there a ton of games out there with similar ideas (that are at least fun or interesting to play), but it can hardly be considered edgy or novel.

Call me a cynic, but I’m finding very few iOS titles that have really impressed me. I’ve played a few on the prodding of my seven-year-old, but I still feel more inclined to read comics on my iPad when I have the free time, or listen to music on my iPhone. I’ve seen one or two titles recently that have legitimately piqued my interest (and I’ll be writing about them soon) but I hope to work with titles that truly are attempting to redefine our perceptions of what gaming can be on a mobile device. What the iPad is doing for comics is a sea change, and I hope the same will happen with games. The threat is there, but seldom does it make good on its promise. Alas, this title is another example of that effect.

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Megan And The Giant lacked any bit of anything to captivate interest. At most it was able to remind me I shouldn’t waste time playing games and that my life is ending one day at a time.  “But wait,” you say “Some poor schlubs just like me who love games cooked this up to offer the world, give ’em a break.”

I did. Really I did. And now I’m here bored despite what effort went into development. Beyond the fact that the game functions, it lacks all other attention a game deserves. I think most of the best games I’ve played either drive my interest through inventive game play or interesting story.

I’ve played games that infuriated me but had an alarmingly addictive fun factor. Or a game that had such a great story I could look past the act that I hated the way it looked. But all in all this was none of those things, maybe the developers will take it further, if this is intended as a beta offering I’d be happy to give it a second chance when it has been tweaked.

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Megan and the Giant, needs a lot more work; I wanted, so much, to say something nice about the game. But beyond respect for what I myself couldn’t accomplish in code, I can’t find anything positive to say here. In spite of the lack of fun or playability, the art was poor and lacked a cohesive feel.

Lest I overstate it, the basic fun factor wasn’t there, and a game that isn’t fun is like a movie that doesn’t honor story first – conceptually intriguing but ultimately lacking resonance.

Megan and the Giant is available now at the iTunes App Store.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Indie-Game-Freak

[Los Angeles] The Indie Game Freak eats games for breakfast. It is a horror to behold, but it's good for the ecosystem.

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