Music and rhythm games like Guitar Hero have dominated console sales, but they have yet to dent the PC market place. Red Rocket Games, intends to change that with their latest rhythm game, Mevo & the Grooveriders. Mevo is aimed at casual gamers. The developer chose to use very straightforward but also yet challenging gameplay, stylish graphics, and a simple storyline.
The plot is very simple. The main character Mevo has to reunite his band (the Grooveriders), bring funk to the universe, and the defeat the enemy, Silence. The game moves Mevo through several different worlds: Ocean, Jungle, Desert, Space, and a Wormhole. You start the game by watching a nicely-crafted cartoon introduction. Afterward, you will be taken to the world map where you can access a total of 17 different levels including the tutorials. The first part of the map will be accessible, but the others will open up as you progress further into the game.
The game is played on a rail system, so you can’t actually control the platforming. As Mevo moves across the level, he will encounter notes. You tap two keys, left shift and right shift, to the rhythm of the music, while right and left arrows display the notes. The first few levels of the game are very simple, but as the game progresses, it can become frustratingly difficult. The beats become more complex, going from basic single notes to a rapid barrage of notes, eventually progressing to long ones with breaks and combinations. There is also a freestyle section in all the levels where players have to tap both keys as fast as possible. This is a good way to rack up huge combos and points, but there is no skill involved whatsoever. If you miss a note, not only does it ruin your combo, but it will also drain your health bar. You can regain it by picking up heath packs, but if you lose enough, you will have to restart the level.
Some levels have multiple routes, so you have to choose which path to take using the shift keys. Right to go up and left to go down. You have the option to complete each level up to three times, so you can earn a silver, gold, or diamond disc. Each level is more difficult, and each has different circumstances on how to earn the disc. For example, in some levels you can’t miss more than one note, or you may need to complete a very long combo. This was just a way to lengthen the playtime, because Mevo & the Grooveriders is, unfortunately, too short.
Before you move on to the next world, you must get no less than one diamond disc from at least one level. When you complete levels, you will earn “funk,” earning in-game items used to access power ups, including autopilot (the game is played for you for a few seconds), perfect boost scoring, shield up, and slow motion. You can use funk to buy different dance moves like ballet and items for accessorizing. There are many items you can buy to customize your character, so there is a lot of replay value if you like to collect items.
My only complaints about the gameplay is, at times, it can be too simple and tedious. Using only two keys can get old, so the developer tries to stick notes together so close that it can sometimes be impossible to hit them all. Although, I do understand that this type of gameplay can be limited on the keyboard. However, I did notice that the music can be out of sync. I became frustrated because I lost long combos when I shouldn’t have. Red Rocket Games should’ve created an online multiplayer mode. The only online option available now is the online community of www.mevoworld.com, which offers players a chance to showcase their Mevo characters and customized avatars. It also features leaderboards and high scores. The game does have achievements, so it will keep some players coming back until they unlock them all.
The game has an interesting art style and nice backgrounds, but for some reason Red Rocket Games does not allow the players to adjust the game’s visuals. This is a problem because you can’t even adjust the resolution, so this can turn into a blurry mess for many gamers who have high resolution monitors. Obviously, there is no widescreen support either. It is disappointing because this has been an industry standard for quite some time now.
Anti-aliasing is also disabled, so the visuals are full of jaggies. The maximum resolution is only 800×600. I hope Red Rocket Games will release a patch to address this problem. Fortunately, the music is very catchy; all the tracks were made specifically for the game. They were produced by live musicians and most of the music is very upbeat and funky, although the extra sounds that come from hitting the notes are sometimes distracting and out of place. The well-composed tracks will hopefully distract many players from the lackluster visuals.
Mevo & the Grooveriders is a fun and addictive game, though it is too short. The developer chose to cheaply lengthen the game by forcing players to replay levels in order to progress further into the game, and the addictive gameplay can sometimes turn into frustrating. The developer’s choice to disable adjusting the graphics settings is a strange one because this game could really benefit from sharper visuals. This choice will no doubt frustrate many gamers, since I’m sure Mevo & the Grooveriders will not only be played by the casual crowd but by hardcore gamers as well.
Red Rocket Games promises continued support of Mevo & the Grooveriders, so hopefully many of these issues will be ironed out, and maybe we will get some new content as well. The ability to use MP3s would be a welcomed one. Players can purchase the game on Steam for $9.99. The Steam version includes bonus characters from Left 4 Dead: Bill, Francis, Louis, the Hunter, and Zoey. You can also download a demo at www.mevoworld.com.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
The low resolution hurts it, but the game is very stylized. 3.5 Control
Very simple controls, maybe too simple. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Catchy original music, but certain sounds are out of place. 3.0 Play Value
The game is fun. There is some replay value if you want to show off your stats and if you like collecting items. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.