Megacopter Characters
Screenshot by Destructoid

Review: Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess

Pizza Strike.

I’d wager that pigs will come before the Strike series when it comes to taking flight again. What began with Desert Strike in 1992 was last seen with Nuclear Strike in 1997, unless you count 2006’s EA Replay for PSP. If you even remember that.

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The Strike games – particularly Jungle Strike – are one of my relaxation titles. I think it’s the constant drone of the helicopter blades combined with warm memories that calms my soul. I wish I was playing it right now.

With the series AWOL, it then turns to other creators to take lessons from it and craft their own unique twists. Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess is one such, and it’s certainly a unique direction.

MegaCopter Submarine Boss Battle
Screenshot by Destructoid

Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess (PC)
Developer: Pizza Bear Games
Publisher: Pizza Bear Games
Released: June 21, 2024
MSRP: $
15.99

If I had to define what made the Strike series so memorable, it would be the fact that it didn’t contain the action you’d expect from an isometric helicopter game. Instead, you had to be extremely careful as you tackled the range of objectives in each map. Resources, such as healing items, fuel, and ammunition, were both rare and limited. Flying around, taking potshots at everything would end in your own burning wreck before too long.

Megacopter isn’t that. It’s much more action-based. There’s a winch that you use to collect health, ammo, and other supplies, but there’s more than enough on hand to blaze a trail of destruction without slowing down. In that way, it’s more like Army Men: Air Attack, if you’ll forgive the deeper cut.

However, it knows this about itself. You play as Jack Copter who is selected to pilot the eponymous Megacopter. Before long, he learns that this piece of military hardware is actually some sort of Aztech deity that thirsts for blood. Thankfully, This discovery gives Jack pause, but everyone else around him seems really partial to blood, so whatever.

The crew is dealing with an invasion of Reptoids. They’re maybe using pizza to, I don’t know, enslave humanity or something. I’d say pizza is a pretty good vector for undermining humanity. I wouldn’t trust anyone who said they didn’t like it.

Gameplay is largely flying around and shooting at things. Between missions, you can spend Pizza Bear Tokens and sacrificial hearts you pick up on upgrades. During the missions themselves, you can spend some time blasting open crates for more money. That’s about the lot of it. Oh! You have a winch.

Not that I was expecting much more. However, the Strike series got a lot of extra mileage out of its maps by having you accomplish different objectives. That’s one of the biggest letdowns of Megacopter: there isn’t really much in terms of mission variety. There are a few where you have to defend an object on the map, and they aren’t great. The most creative it gets is a late mission where you deliver pizzas. Which, to be fair, is pretty great.

There are bosses, which are where things are at their most exciting. There’s a lot of aiming, projectile dodging and knowing when to pick up supplies. There is no winching, however, which I think is a missed opportunity. Like, you could pluck out their eye or drop something on their face. Just spitballing here. Winches should be treasured.

Megacopter Cutscene
Screenshot by Destructoid

Even if it isn’t fancy, the basic gameplay is fun. There’s some satisfaction in figuring out the most efficient way to take out some of the enemy units, and the flight mechanics are well-tuned. However, it is all quite rough and unambitious.

The graphics, in particular, are inconsistent. Many of the close-ups aren’t great, with odd proportions and perspective. Worse is the fact that, during cutscenes, it often displays a great deal of blurriness that suggests heavy image compression.

It also attempts a retro style with a pixellated look but doesn’t fully commit to it. Beyond just having pixel resolution that’s all over the place, the resolution for many of the objects, in general, is so high that it loses the retro feel and instead just looks awkward.

On the other hand, it reaches for a neon-lit, comic book aesthetic that largely works and very nearly gives Megacopter a distinctive style. It’s simply undermined by its inconsistencies, but it’s not totally lost.

However, the UI is monstrously ugly. It’s completely functional, giving you an easy read of all your important vital signs. It’s just one of the most hideous HUDs I can remember experiencing lately. The colors, the transparency, the placement of certain windows, and the font all feel like placeholders that were never replaced. It’s also another case where a high-resolution font is placed over pixellated graphics, and that’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

I wouldn’t normally bang on about the appearance of a game’s UI like this, but it’s something I had difficulty getting past every time a text box appeared overlapping another window.

MegaCopter Delivering Pizza
Screenshot by Destructoid

The music is fine, but I’d swear there’s really only one song in the mix. It’s a fairly straightforward synthetic cyberpunk sound, so it’s enjoyable, but if it ever changed, I didn’t recognize it.

The dialogue is more consistent in its quality, which I’m not sure was meant to be any sort of focus. There’s a blase quality to its storytelling, where context is given with a sledgehammer. A particularly memorable example of this is when it needed to be explained why these military types would sacrifice people to power up their death-copter. The explanation is just, “Well, those guys are dicks anyway, so we probably shouldn’t feel bad about it.

Just by the nature of humor, it’s not going to click with everybody. But there’s an unabrasive playfulness to it. Even when it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it still manages to crack off a few enjoyable exchanges. The characters aren’t deep, but they’re distinct enough to get the jokes across.

The narrative, as a whole, doesn’t benefit from its unfocused, lackadaisical approach to the point where I often couldn’t tell what the grand conspiracy was or where things were going. However, considering Megacopter is a helicopter action game, which doesn’t provide much opportunity for depth in storytelling, the lack of a solid narrative isn’t much of an issue, while the entertaining dialogue is appreciable.

MegaCopter Hobo camp
Screenshot by Destructoid

At the very least, it’s over before it wears out its welcome. It’s maybe 6-8 hours, which is probably how long it would take to get through Jungle Strike. There are four bosses across four locations and a decent amount of missions that move at a good clip. There isn’t a whole lot of reason to replay it after all is said and done.

The mileage you get out of Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess will depend on how malnourished you are from Strike depravation. It’s fun but very rough. It is reasonably but not mind-blowingly fun. It is substantially but not unforgivably rough. The former is certainly more important than the latter. However, more consistency is needed to give this bird its blades.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

6
Alright
Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.

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Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.