Mega Motion is one of those games written to deliberately annoy irritable staff writers on deadline. For a start, even categorising it is pretty difficult. Is it a puzzler? Yes. Does it involve an element of strategy? Yes. Do you need to be relatively dextrous to play it? The answer is again yes.
So what is the problem, you may be thinking. Well, it is like this. How often doe you hear the phrase 'dextrous puzzley strategy game' being bandied about? Not very often I will tell you. I even went to the trouble of checking through every single magazine published by Future ever and still only managed to find the phrase once. And that was in a beta copy of Amstrad Action's personal subscription advertising pages. The phrase was eventually dropped because they decided it was not going anywhere.
Now, bearing in mind that I have not yet come up with a definition of Mega Motion, I will tell you what we (we being the collective mind of AMIGA POWER) cam up with. We decided that it was a chain reaction set-'em-up. That, as someone somewhere would say, if they saw this game, is not even the whole story. But I reckon I have wasted enough space in introduction already, so I will start by telling you about the game and why we decided that chain reaction set-'em-up was the best we could do.
There are 100 levels, broken up into four categories: easy, average, difficult and very difficult. Each level is a screen in size. See the grabs on this page to get a better idea of what the game looks like. You control a 'thing'. That is right, I know I get paid loads and loads of money to write these reviews, but 'thing' is the best word I can think of to describe what you control; a thing (unless of course I called it a frenetic kinetic mimetic, and get fired again).
Now this 'thing' usually consists of two spheres connected by a rod. It is not always two spheres and rods (and there is always one red less than the total number of spheres - so there you go). Again, if you are having difficulty following me, look at the pictures again.
You have to guide this 'thing' toward the exit on the level. This is not as easy as it may sound. For a start, there are fiendishly placed obstacles of varying degrees of difficulty to traverse and negotiate. To complicate things, there is a time limit which you can overstep. If you do, however, you do not earn as high a bonus on level completion. Does not sound like too much of a problem so far, does it? Well, added to all this 'reach the end' trickery is the motion of the 'thing' itself. It constantly rotates around a fixed axis. The fixed axis being one of the spheres that constitute the 'thing'. Follow me so far? I do hope so.
Using the mouse, you can change which sphere constitutes the fixed axis. Ergo, you can move your 'thing' in any direction, by constantly fixing the free rotating sphere. If you do not follow me so far, let us try again (Yes please - Ed). We will start with the simplest 'thing'; one made up of two spheres. One of the two spheres is always fixed and the other sphere rotates in a 360 degree around the fixed sphere. Incidentally, you can change the direction of this rotation by clicking the right mouse button, clockwise or anti-clockwise; very handy when bashing bashable obstacles.
To move, you wait for the free sphere to rotate round to the direction required and fix it with your left mouse button. Repeat these actions and you will move, no problem. Get the hang of this, and you are well on the way to complete control (I'm well on the way to a headache - Ed).
Develop your sense of eidetic imagery.
Get to grips with the motion on the easy levels. The concentrate on the obstacles. Some are just plain blocks that have to be bashed with your free sphere a set number of times. Others are bombs which set up chain reactions by blowing up neighbouring blocks (hence our chain reaction set-'em-up categorisation).
There are skulls which create solid diamond-type walls. If you hit these walls, the colliding sphere dies. Obviously, if your 'thing' only consists of two spheres, you lose a life. More spheres than that means you may still live.
Sometimes there are plain walls that cannot be bashed out. Hope is at hand with the switcher blocks. These reveal secret doors and remove some unnecessary walls. Sometimes though, it is not always good, they can also reveal the nasty type of secret walls. Other little goodies include keys and the locks that they open, mover blocks and extra lives, score bonuses and rocks and stones.
Right, I have reached here and have not actually told you what I think of the game. I like it. it is one of those games that baits you, hooks you and pulls you in. At first, you play it with a detached indifference, thinking "well it IS pretty novel". The next thing you know, you are sweating pints trying to work out the best approach. For example, on level 30, it is a matter of experimenting and finding out where the killing walls are going to appear when the skull icons explode. Then you have to plot an appropriate route home.
So there you go. Mega Motion will be a turn off to shoot-em-up and platform fans. It should hook anyone else. It is different, original and a bit strange. It will also help develop your sense of eidetic imagery (I fell asleep with a mental picture of another method to use to complete level 30). Luckily there is a password system to let you return to particularly difficult levels.
There is just time for me to give a quick mention to the sound. It is nice. The 'thing' sounds like a third octave D sharp being played on a piano keyboard when you move it. All in all, the sound adds to the fun whereas the music soundtracks drive you to distraction. Go it? Good.
I am not going to say rush out to the shops and buy Mega Motion now. It is an acquired taste. But me for one, I am going to have lots of fun until I finally complete the whole game and that will take a while. It is a challenge, that is for sure.