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Comprehensive Reviews

TechnoReview: Meltdown from Momentum Games

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Momentum Games - Meltdown
Momentum Games

Meltdown from Momentum Games
Reviewed by: Eric Pankoke

After playing Pocket Mini Golf 2 from Momentum Games, I had high expectations for Meltdown. Then, as I started seeing rather positive reviews from industry veterans that I greatly respect, the bar was raised. I am here to let you know that I was not in any way disappointed. Let the race to reactor core meltdown begin!

The premise behind Meltdown is simple. You play the part of Emgee, a nuclear power station safety control robot. Your job is to make sure that power stations run flawlessly. Unfortunately, this is not your day, as power station after power station is beginning to fall apart from rust and corrosion. To make matters worse, your legs won’t stop moving! You can’t let that slow you down, however, as you must deactivate a certain number of cores in each power station before they melt down and cause a nuclear explosion! Are you up to the task?

Emgee’s main two tools at his disposal are his super jump and his flight pack. Each has a meter on it, and the longer you hold down the button the more distance you’ll get out of the given tool. The caveat is this: the jump is only available when you’re on the ground (of course), but the flight pack is only available in the air. As soon as your feet leave the ground you can start charging your jet pack, but as soon as your feet touch the ground again that charge will be converted to your jump. Still sound pretty easy?

Here’s the element that binds the whole game together: timing. Sure you could charge your tools to full capacity every time, but you’ll never pass most of the levels that way, as you’ll continually overshoot targets (or undershoot, if a strong launch causes you to hit a pipe in the ceiling, for example). You may have to play through levels several times as you determine how much power will get you where you need to go, when you need to start powering up, and when you need to release the button. This goes for both jumping and flying. It’s also important to learn to use your environment. A low hanging platform may be your friend if you just want to turn around instead of making a long jump. Oh, and did I mention that each level is timed as well?

Momentum Meltdown

In addition to the clock and your perpetual movement, there are plenty of other obstacles as well. In the early levels you get simple things, such as core switches that have to be deactivated in a certain order and pools of coolant that will cause you to short circuit. As the levels progress you get more challenges, such as electric barriers that must be deactivated and radioactive gremlins that would like nothing more than to sample your circuits. Fortunately, some of these obstacles simply force you to start back at the beginning of the level, while keeping any already-triggered core switches flipped. However, anything that causes you to travel over parts of the level again wastes time, and time is definitely not on your side.

Besides your built in abilities to jump and jet pack, you do have a couple of things working in your favor.  Scattered throughout the levels are little isotope rods that give you 5 extra seconds on the clock.  You also earn one rod for each core successfully deactivated within a plant.  Rods found in a level can be used in the same plant.  Rods earned from saving a plant can be used on any subsequent plants.  Of course there’s always a down side, and the negative aspect of the rods – at least in my opinion – is that they are automatically used when your time runs low.  Personally, if I know I’m not going to finish a level even with a few extra seconds added on the clock, I’d rather not waste the rods.  Unfortunately, since this is designed to be a one button game, there really wouldn’t be a way to trigger the use of the rods manually.  The other benefit you have is that in Easy mode you only have to deactivate 2 out of 5 cores for each station, and in Hard mode you only need 3 out of 5 cores to succeed.  If you’re like me, however, in some plants that won’t seem like much of a perk.
The sound in Meltdown is equally as charming.  From the first “let’s go” to the quick agony of an electrified cry or a coolant filled gurgle, the sound effects in Meltdown blend together perfectly.  What’s more, the music actually suits the game as well!  It’s certainly not my favorite type of music, but as you’re rushing around a power station that’s about ready to go nuclear, it sets just the right atmosphere.
The graphics in are wonderful.  Emgee has “mascot” written all over him, and everything that is animated looks really good.  What stands out even more, however, are the layers of pipes in the background.  There’s nothing overly extraordinary about them, but for some reason they really catch my eye.  Overall, if I had anything negative to say about the graphics it’s that a little animation in the background might have been nice, but with all the eye candy already present it certainly wouldn’t be necessary.

Pros:

Excellent Graphics
Spot On Sound
Unique, Challenging and Addictive Gameplay

Cons:

 

- Can be quite challenging for the less skilled player, even on “Easy” mode
- Have no control over when to use isotope rods
 -Have to replay all levels of a station to beat undefeated ones

To me it seems as if portable devices are a perfect venue for platform games, and I always thought it was a shame there weren’t more available on the PocketPC.  If Meltdown is any indication of what’s possible, however, I’m willing to wait between releases.  Let’s hope Meltdown Momentum Games sets a trend for what’s to come!

Score: 9/10

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