Mecho Tales review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Arcade Distillery
Developer: Arcade Distillery
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes (PS4/PC)
ESRB: E10+

Last time we checked in with Arcade Distillery, they’d created a game that looked neat, but wasn’t much fun to play. They’ve now released their second game, Mecho Tales, and I suppose the good news is that there’s no “but…” to be found.

Of course, this is because there’s only bad news to be found: Mecho Tales is both a pain to play and an even bigger pain to look at.

Admittedly, it’s possible that there’s room for disagreement on the graphics side of things. Different people have different tastes, and Mecho Tales’ rather, er, vivid visual sensibilities might appeal for some, particularly if they want a break from the often drab palettes of many other games. Personally, though, I think the game — with its love of neon pastels — is an eyesore. Colours that have no business being anywhere near each other are smashed together here, and the net effect is literally painful to look at. Sure, it’s not a style you see in most places, but there’s a reason for that: it’s hideous.

I don’t think many (or any) would disagree, however, that the gameplay is pretty bad. The controls are incredibly awkward, and the characters are difficult to manoeuvre. Your character is wandering around with a floating turret next to him, and in theory, you’re supposed to use the turret to fire at enemies. What actually happens — at least on the Vita — is that it’s basically impossible to run away from enemies and shoot at them at the same time. Mecho Tales asks you to move your character with the left stick, aim your fire with the right stick, and jump with the right shoulder button. Unless you’re nimble enough to simultaneously press down on the shoulder button with your index finger while also moving your right thumbstick in all directions, you won’t be able to do what the game asks you to do.

There’s a chance, of course, that Mecho Tales plays better with a full controller than on a handheld. But even if it does, there’s still the question on why you’d want to. Whether you’re playing the game on a small screen or a large one, there’s no getting around the fact that doing so will sear your eyeballs. Your vision is precious, and so is your time, so you’re better off using both far, far away from Mecho Tales.

Grade: D-