Mekazoo: Saturday morning fun

Remember those mornings when you would wake up early on Saturday, shove sugary cereal into your face, watch a few cartoons and then spend hours trading the controller with your sibling or friend playing Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Bros.?

Mekazoo is the game that will give a whole new generation those wonderful memories, as well as allow gamers like me to wax nostalgic over those wonderful weekends of the past. Rich colorful backgrounds, fast moving animal heroes fighting against mechanical insects, and the hard to describe plucky attitude will remind seasoned players of the original Sonic games (the good ones). Younger players will just notice that the characters are fun, the game is colorful and gorgeous, and controls great.

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Mekazoo brings a great play mechanic that especially shines in co-op couch multiplayer. The player controls 2 out of 5 possible mekanimals per stage, each with their own special abilities, and can swap between them on the fly. The stages are set up to not only encourage swapping, but in fact demand it to progress. For example, in the level I played, the frog could swing from grapple points using his long tongue. Upon landing on a half pipe, I would have to switch to the armadillo to use her spin boost (Sonic!) ability to zoom ahead.

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This switch mechanic is really fun in local multiplayer mode. One player will control one mekanimal, and when the other player sees a situation that their mekanimal can handle better, like a grapple point, they hit the swap button and take control. Swapping mekanimals on the fly, often in midair, creates a very dynamic, exciting experience. Mekazoo is  great to share with a friend, little brother, wife, or whoever will play with you. You’ll laugh when one player swaps at the wrong time and you both plummet to your doom, and when you are both in sync and in the zone, the rush of zooming through a level cooperatively is hard to compare to any other game.

Screenshots don’t really do this game justice. Check out the short video below to see the game in action. Mekazoo is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and PC. As always, you can hear more of my thoughts on this and other games on the Plug and Play podcast.

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