By: Quinn Potter
Weird to start, weird to unravel the narrative and weirder still to play. McDroid is a big dose of strange.
It’s easy to move, jump, fire, place mines/turrets, or navigate to the arsenal. There’s some time wasted in getting to the supply shop, though, and it slows the game down quite a bit. No remapping is available, nor are special skills or shortcuts to start.
The visuals are, quite frankly, pretty unappealing. It looks like a small child outlined some objects with a thick black marker and a computer program colored them in. Objects appear fuzzy unless they are at the very center of the action. This can create a bit of a vertigo sensation.
Sound isn’t much better. The bleeps, blops and blurgs don’t add a lot to either the narrative or the action. Repetitive bits of computer-generated speech do nothing to enhance play. Odd injections of electric guitar, narrative bits, overlapping dialogues and alien sound effects make the game quirky but not necessarily better.
We ran into a few glitches, which made an already confusing game even more frustrating, such as when we lost the screen due to a “controller disconnected” error when that clearly wasn’t the case. We also had times when we exited out of a level the wrong way or had collected strawberries that weren’t recognized for trade.
McDroid looks it was created by children for other children to play. The objective is murky, narrative is non-existent and gameplay is slow and somewhat puzzling. It’s like some of the games we’ve seen on Scratch, where someone clearly had an idea in mind but couldn’t communicate it to others.
The cut scene at the start shows the player that McDroid is a robot that has recently been shuttled back to its home planet only to discover the planet has been invaded by an alien species. McDroid’s mission is deal with all the invaders through a number of tactics.
The primary tactic seems to be the planting and gathering of strawberries, which are used as in-game currency for tools and weapons. Use these strawberries to build a number of turrets as a defensive perimeter around McDroid’s crashed shuttle. Moving up levels unleashes bigger waves of attacks, so make sure you are prepared.
A side trip to the specimen zoo can be fun, but that’s one of the few oddball details that are purely enjoyable. Few of the upper level effects are so awesome as to be worth the effort to get there.
A lot of ideas are here to explore and it’s possible that a strong editor or project manager could have tied it all together. As it exists now, however, McDroid consists of a mishmash of concepts with multiple glitches. This makes it hard to enter and master the game, which will be a big turnoff for many players.