McDROID was probably the most difficult game for me to review to date. Not because it was bad, but because I just couldn’t get a grasp on how exactly I felt about it. It was a mixture of slightly confusing gameplay that at times felt monotonous, and characters that put a huge dumb smile on my face every time they talked. The game plays like a third person shooter, mixed with a tower defense title. Which easily explains the weird feeling it gave me. Never in a million years would I put those two together. While it was a slow start, about halfway through the title I started to get a grasp on things and started to enjoy it more. While not a perfect game, it definitely is not a bad title.
McDROID puts you in control of the title McDROID, a robot who is returning to its home planet, Planet M, with its beloved ship (the two “talk to each other.” The ship speaks English while McDROID responds with adorable beeps and boops.) to discover something is terribly wrong. The planet who normally talks to them is quiet, and aliens have invaded your home. In order to get to the bottom of the situation, you must travel around Planet, and heal the different heart components. Each heart healed progresses Planet’s “age.” (starting as baby, to toddler, to teen, etc.) In order to defeat the aliens and heal Planet, you must utilize multiple weapons and equipments that are scattered about. With that being the gist of things, let’s beam into the nitty gritty details.
Starting with the art style, McDROID has such a wonderful aesthetic to it. With a mixture of cell shaded graphics and a watercolor finish, it was refreshing to look at. For the dialogue, non-animated drawings appeared on the screen depending on who was talking. While some games do this and the charm is lost, that is far from what happens in McDROID. Where the main characters are robotic, it is much different from a visual novel’s style of “here is the person talking, but they are going to show no emotion or even attempt to ‘talk.’ ” The characters are quite adorable (dialogue coming in just a little bit) and quite original. The aliens have a distinct design that is familiar to actual animals, (worms, snails, etc.) but given a cartoony feel to make them that much more alien.
With the sound, I loved just about every detail of it. Each weapon used has its own distinct sound so you are able to determine which gun was going off at any time. Since the game is centered around robots, even the gun turrets are able to talk to you. The “problem?” It is actually sad when your turret is yelling “HELP ME” because a snail is slowly eating it. It’s heartbreaking actually. The voice over work was probably the one thing that kept me coming back until I “got” it. Anytime the ship and McDROID had a back and forth, I laughed. A lot. McDROID has a childlike innocence, almost in a WALL-E type of way. Combine that with your smart talking, quick witted ship, and it is a match made in Heaven. Easily the best part of the game! At one point McDROID starts making noises at baby Planet, and Planet starts repeating them back like a baby would. The cuteness almost made me tear up because of how absolutely adorable it was.
The one problem to the sound that I found was that with it being a wave based game, they wanted to make it obvious you were on the final wave. The sound they chose was a tornado siren, which is perfectly fine. The problem was that every time it goes off, the siren would cut off before it could properly fade out, which was kind of jarring with how great all other aspects of the sound were.
Finally, let’s take a look at the gameplay. In McDROID, you are given multiple weapons you can scatter around the field on certain pegs to help protect your ship. You use strawberries collected around the field and planted as well as diamonds from defeated enemies to purchase these items. Lasers, lightning, and rockets are all on the table as weapons you can use to take down the oncoming alien horde. Each of these weapons can be upgraded to pack even more of a punch in each round (even rounds before you unlocked the weapons) after you purchase the upgrade with a large amount of diamonds.
Through the first few levels, you are only given a laser that can be upgraded, however the title picked up once you are given the crowd control missile launcher, since one enemy was never sent after you, rather a horde of at least five aliens. With just the laser, I found myself easily overwhelmed which caused the game to feel monotonous and very vanilla. However, in the later levels of the game, you are given a “pet” who fires rockets, collector bots to make farming to upgrade easier and many more items that made the game more interesting and challenging. By taking this equipment back to previous levels, you are able to quickly accumulate diamonds needed to upgrade throughout the game. The farming aspect isn’t dull and still allows you to participate and make you feel involved.
While it does take a while to kick off, McDROID is definitely charming and unique. For the price tag of $8, you will get many hours and many laughs out of this cute title, if you can push through the slow beginning. This is why I give McDROID a 7 out of 10.