Robots! Evil, cold-hearted, emotionless tyrants who want nothing better than to rip up your flower beds and replace them with oil refineries! But what happens when they've lived out their usefulness? Do they retire to some silicon Valhalla? Not if you're a Mechanaught! In this action platform game featuring hardcore robot disobedience, avoid the scrap heap as you fight your way out of a line to be decommissioned and seek out those who would have you destroyed.
The nice thing about Mechanaught is that the controls are fully customizable via the options menu on the main key. Actions can be reassigned to whatever key you wish if the standard [WASD] controls don't do it for you. Maybe it's yet another attempt to recreate the simulation of being a robot, fully in control of one's own abilities and able to rewire your own circuitry. Or maybe it's just a pleasant attempt to make the game accessible to almost everyone.
However you customise your game, the basic premise stays the same. Progress through stages by making your way to the glowing platforms at the end of each one. Avoid or destroy enemies and security systems by picking up various types of weapons and ammunition. Keep your eyes peeled for switches to raise platforms, and for special monitors to save your progress. Also tucked sparingly throughout the levels are health and additional lives you'll need to gather if you want to see the end.
Just remember that no matter what those mean ol' monitors say about you, we think you're keen.
Analysis: Usually when we talk about something having a retro style, we're generally referring to NES-era visuals. Mechanaught actually goes a step farther in that it would not have looked out of place on that great Methuselah of gaming systems, the Atari. The colour-shifting background is a bit perplexing, but the simple black design for everything works well and doesn't get in the way of playing the game itself.
Although the platforming here is going to be very basic to most of us, Mechanaught stands out both in design and mood. As you progress, the large monitors mounted to the walls begin to get increasingly irritated at your inability to lie down and give up. "Stop now and you will be dismantled painlessly!" they cry. Maybe you'd be a little more inclined to believe them if you didn't have to gun down quite so many mindless members of your extended manufactured family.
My biggest gripe with Mechanaught is actually the implementation of lives. I thought we'd covered this was an unnecessary and annoying idea for a browser game. I sent out flyers and everything. This is a flash game, not an arcade hall with a sticky floor. You're not going to get quarters out of me, just an enraged baboon-like hooting. If you run out of lives, that's it. Game over. You can go back to your most recent save, but it's still frustrating. Maybe some people will like the added difficulty, but the rest of us are going to be annoyed that dying carries such a stiff penalty instead of simply popping you back to the beginning of a stage. Maybe if health kits were a more frequent find, it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
All in all, however, Mechanaught is still a fun, odd robot romp. It's also educational! If you ever find yourself having to dispose of large quantities of deadly war machines, do yourself a favour and make sure you disarm them first. That seems like basic robot safety protocol, but, well, apparently some people need reminding.