Nostalgia is a powerful motivator in gaming. Providing a sense of comfort and familiarity, developers often target this feeling through sequels and remakes, but in the last decade, we’ve seen a greater rise in spiritual successors and that’s been particularly prominent for early 3D platformers, Yooka-Laylee and A Hat In Time being prime examples. Attempting to recreate that N64 feel, we now have Macbat 64: Journey Of A Nice Chap from Diploducus Games, taking place across the Kiwibbean. It certainly feels like an N64 game, but completely fails to do this era justice in the execution.
You play as Macbat, a monocle-wearing bat living in Kiwiland, a region once ruled by the evil Melon King before his defeat two years prior by a singular kiwi bird (Ivy?). Residents have since seen peace but recently, water production has stopped at the “Watery Factory” and entry is sealed by six different keys. Tasked by your parrot friend to investigate, it comes down to Macbat to find them all and discover what happened. Utilising a storybook aesthetic to journey between levels, Macbat 64 has 10 levels in total and comes filled with self-referential humour that often breaks the fourth wall.
Across most levels, all you can do is move around, walk up to NPCs to talk with them, and jump. There’s no combat here and Macbat’s move-set is pretty limited. Your main task is finding the area’s key to complete it and most areas have a set of collectable items that contribute towards getting it, like coins for buying items or balloons to lift objects. Unfortunately, Macbat 64 executes this poorly and it simply isn’t fun. Gameplay is extremely basic and feels like a weak rehash of better games, made worse by poor camera implementation. Some levels change up gameplay to bring variety, including a 2D segment and go-karting, but they don’t feel cohesive and are equally dull.
Each level is also beatable within 5 minutes, meaning you could finish the story in just over an hour, though considering the extremely low price point, that’s more forgivable. Ultimately though, whilst the N64-era aesthetic will appeal to some, Macbat 64 just isn’t worth your time. Diploducus Games seem to be relying on little more than nostalgia as it’s selling point, but when it utterly fails to deliver on gameplay, we can’t recommend this to even the most die-hard platforming fans.