Remember when coins actually meant something in platformers? We’d dive in and out of danger, channeling our supreme OCD instincts to gather every coin possible in hopes of earning the coveted “1-UP Bonus.” Mega Coin Squad on Xbox One taps into your nostalgia triggers and takes you back to a simpler time when coins still played a critical role in game design.
In this retro-inspired platforming brawler, you play as a group of down and out misfits looking for an easy way to earn a buck. The minimalistic back stories of these characters are told via brief intro cinematics at the start of each single player campaign. A promising flyer leads you to a cruise which whisks you away to a magical land filled with unimaginable treasure and unfortunately for you, vicious monsters hellbent on robbing you of your plunder.
“What starts as a somewhat slow and confusing foray into amateur coin collecting, soon becomes a frantic dash to complete the stages in record time without taking a scratch”
Each stage drops your character in a small platforming arena that combines the colorful style of Super Mario World with the chaos and insanity of Towerfall. Your objective is simply to gather the required number of coins and drop them in the enormous piggy bank at the start of each level. Enemies and obstacles won’t make this an easy task. You must uppercut, fireball, and ground-pound your way to victory, regardless of the furry casualties. If you decide to take the pacifistic route and allow an enemy to hit you, you’ll drop every single coin your character is holding. So it’s in your best interest to fly through these stages as quickly as you can.
Simply banking the coins will unlock the next stage, but doing so without taking damage, in one bank, and within the specified challenge time limit will reward your character with bonus gems that can be used to upgrade your character’s skills and unlock new weapons or items.Upgrades are delivered via a nifty roulette block at the end of each stage and the number of spins you’re awarded is determined by the number of gems you collected in the previous stage, so mastering these challenges will quickly become an obsession.
After completing a few stages and unlocking some upgrades, you’ll notice a drastic shift in the speed of the gameplay. What starts as a somewhat slow and confusing foray into amateur coin collecting, soon becomes a frantic dash to complete the stages in record time without taking a scratch. To the uninitiated, Mega Coin Squad may seem a little dull and repetitive, but once the deeper gameplay mechanics click, they’ll click hard and you’ll spend hours desperately trying to beat the leaderboard times and earn your place in video game history.
Watching your character progress is one of the most satisfying elements of Mega Coin Squad. Each character has their own unique stats, but everyone shares the same skills, so the upgrades become a huge part of how you’ll play your character. Because unlocks are determined somewhat randomly, you’ll have to adapt your play style to match the upgrades you’ve unlocked. If you’ve obtained double jump and a level 3 ground-pound, chances are you’ll spend most your time raining destruction from the skies, but if you’ve spun more weapon upgrades, you’ll probably be jumping on those weapon drops and letting your bullets do the dirty work.
“Sometimes the goal is simply to kill every other player and be the last one standing, and other times it’s a mad dash to gather as many coins as you can in the given time limit.”
Most of the game’s meat comes from the single player campaign, but there is a fun and frantic competitive mode for 2 to 4 local players. Multiplayer throws you and some friends into random stages with random objectives. Sometimes the goal is simply to kill every other player and be the last one standing, and other times it’s a mad dash to gather as many coins as you can in the given time limit. If you have a few buddies over, this is a good way to take a break from the story mode, but without online play, I don’t expect it to get much use. With some additional features and online support, this could be a great way to destroy some friendships, but unfortunately, it’s very limited in its current state.
Mega Coin Squad is a very unique game that pays tribute to some of the all-time classics. If you’re a fan of retro platformers or modern brawler revivals like Scott Pilgrim vs The World, you’ll have a blast powering your way through this bright and beautiful world. If you’re an OCD speed-runner, you’ll quickly become obsessed with idea of playing better, to become faster, to play better, to the beat the game faster, just to do it all over again. If you’re looking for a great game to pick up and play on Xbox One, I would highly recommend Mega Coin Squad. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to play through the game a 3rd or 4th time.
Recommended for fans of: Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Super Mario World, retro platformers and local multiplayer games.
*This review is based on the Xbox One version of Mega Coin Squad, but is also available on Steam. Unless we find significant differences between each version, consider this our definitive review.
Miles Dompier is the chief editor and founder of What’s Your Tag?. He is a Seattle native who recently moved to the sweltering heat of Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a composer/voice actor. When he’s not up writing until his eyes bleed, he likes to play a Prince level of instruments and listen to terrible death metal. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter and be sure to join our gaming community; TEAM XBRO.