Developer: Over Fence
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Sports & Party
Release Date: 18th of May, 2017 (JP)
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With so many great games releasing in the last four weeks, and the likes of E3 happening, it’s so easy to forget that the English language supported Battle Sports Mekuru came to the Japanese eShop last month, so while I haven’t got round to reviewing it sooner, I am going to review it now!
Originally called Project Mekuru before being renamed as Battle Sports Mekuru, Battle Sports Mekuru is a multiplayer title that can be played both locally and online, only while the game does have a good design behind it and even appealing sounds, it doesn’t exactly have the best online system in the world. In fact, to say it bluntly, it doesn’t even have much of anything at all but more on this later.
When first playing Battle Sports Mekuru, players will be presented with one of the characters from the game, who is on hand to clue you in on Battle Sports Mekuru. Telling you things like how it is an all-new battle sport in which you must Hip Drop (jump into the air and butt stomp the ground,) to flip the tiles in which makes up the stage the sport is played in and make match the colour of your player. He’ll also tell you that you’ll move faster over tiles that are the same colour as you, and for the ones that aren’t, you’ll move more slower over.
When the character’s opening lecture is over and done with, it’s straight over to the How to Play section, where a couple of tutorials await to teach you everything there is to know, starting with the three playable modes. (Panel Battle, in which you compete against 3 other players and attempt to capture as many panels as you can before time is up. Then there is Knock Out mode where you need to jump and stomp when an opposing player is in close proximity, to knock them out of the field of battle. Doing so will earn you a point and the player with the most knock outs win. As for the final mode, it is Life Battles, which is very similar to Knock Out, except instead of having an infinite amount of lives, you have a set amount and if you lose them all, you lose.)
Now you can of course actually skip the lessons, but it’s not worth it as the lessons take no time at all to go through and the information they provide is worth knowing. Although the information about the power ups could have been more so, since the game doesn’t really state what they all are, but they do consist of a double jump ability, an ability that lets you flip more titles per Hip Drop and even a brief invincibility power up that stops you from getting knocked out. But as good as the items are, don’t get attached to them because if you get knocked out, you will lose them all and as for how to get them in the first place, they will randomly appear upon flipping tiles.
There are also things like gimmicks, which includes a laser firing turret and even a switch that when hit, will flip tiles elsewhere and what do you know, we’ve reached the end of the How to Play tutorials so gameplay can begin, only there is not a lot of it. In the main menu there is an “Achievement” (not a typo on my part as that is how it is spelled in the game itself) tile, only it’s not available just yet, as it is coming soon. So unless you feel like checking out the How to Play section again, or going into the settings and adjusting things like the intensity of the HD Rumble, or changing the game’s language, then it’s time to click Battle instead.
In the battle screen, be prepared to see two more “Coming Soon” tiles as Ranking (again another typo) and Local Area Battle has yet to be added, so instead you are left with Internet Random Battle or Local Battle. In Internet Random Battle, you can either try searching for a game, or create a room/lobby of your own and design a match to your choosing (pick a mode and adjust the duration from 30 seconds to 5 minutes long), only playing online is not that simple.
Battle Sports Mekuru is not exactly the most popular game in the world, which means not a lot of people are playing it and with the likes of ARMS and Ultra Street Fighter: The Final Challengers out now and everything else, those who do own Mekuru are no playing other games, so if you want to play, than right now Local Battle is you only option. The good news however is even if there aren’t four of you to play it, you can always go against CPU and adjust their level to make things easier for you.
Once everyone who is going to play is in (counting both actual players and CPU,) it’s time to pick your desired mode, adjust the time and then pick a stage. Right now there are only 6 stages in all with three being part of the Blue Arena and the other three being part of the Green Field, but they are different and they do bring a little something to the table, but once a stage is picked, it is time to play and you know what, the gameplay isn’t that bad.
In its own way, Battle Sports Mekuru is a lot like a Bomberman game, whilst completely different and its own entity at the same time, but the matches are fun. They are enjoyable and are certainly the best thing about this game, but it’s just a colossal shame that the game feels so unfinished. Sure no stages and that are going to be added, but the lack of actual sustaining content does have a nasty habit of dragging what could have been a decent game down and now that I’ve said enough about this game to make my mind up, it is time for the conclusion.
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By no means is Battle Sports Mekuru a fantastic game. Yes it is mildly pleasing and not the worst Switch game in existence, but as harsh as it sounds, in its present state, it is just not a complete game, so maybe it’s a good thing it isn’t available for the West just yet. So, as much as I don’t want to do this, while the game does have some appeal, a 6/10 is the best I can score it. It is not a game I can happily recommend, but I’m not going to rule it out either. The fact of the matter is more content is coming, so maybe in time Battle Sports Mekuru will become the game it was always meant to be, but until then, there is no real need to go through the “hassle” of getting it from the Japanese Switch eShop just yet.
THE VERDICT: 6/10