Melbits World is a family/friend orientated PlayLink game. For those who don’t know, PlayLink is Sony’s answer to a controller-less gameplay experience where you just need the game and the app for the game on a smartphone and you are set up to enjoy a good party game session with friends and family.
The idea behind Melbits is sort of like Lemmings where you have these cute little critters on the screen that walk in one direction. Your goal is to get them to the end safely by using the app and controlling various colour-coded objects across a variety of stunning levels.
While it sounds simple enough, it is actually the complete opposite. You see, every player playing in your session is in charge of a set of objects that make up a selection of four colour-coded blocks, jumps, logs and more. Players need to work together to get these Melbits to the end, collect various objects around the level for extra points and often, players need to make sure to be following every Melbit as they walk around and hopefully get to the end thanks to the help of each player.
The game starts off a bit slow with a few blocks to slide across, jump pads to push these Melbits into the air and onto higher ledges and later on expands to completely movable blocks that you really have to slide and control to succeed.
Playing with four players means that each player has his or her own controllable object. Three players will load the four absent player’s object onto their phone, and two players mean that each player will be controlling two objects. The fewer players, the harder it gets and the more players, the harder it is too as you rely on everyone making sure they know what they are doing.
My gameplay sessions with friends ended with them tossing Melbits off the ledge, making them walk off waterfalls, and even walk straight into enemies which you have to avoid else your Melbit will die from it. You can kill these enemies by jumping on their heads but you Melbit does nothing but walk in a straight line. All its actions are determined by your objects so you would have to time a perfect jump pad launch to make sure it lands right on the enemies head.
This sort of thing was rare but super rewarding when you managed to do so. The magic of Melbits World comes out when you think you are not going to make it but somehow these creatures bump into each other, one jumps on another one’s head and lands on the right ledge above it. While rare, it was these unexpected moments that made us all scream and pray that our mess up resulted in something magical, and it did. Often we would completely screw up really early in the level because every time you restart, roles are switched. Luckily we could just restart the stage to begin again.
There are various worlds to explore in the game with a selection of carefully-designed levels to complete. Every new world delivers a great new visual experience and the levels get a lot more complex as you progress further. Its a decent a few hours of your time and the idea of bringing your friends together to play the game is what makes it so appealing.
Saying that, however, things can get a little repetitive after a while so the game is meant to be played in short bursts. Perhaps one world at a time which is roughly nine levels each. You can also unlock costume items to place on these Melbits which give them a cool look when you are using them in the levels. Glasses, hats and gloves all add a bit of personality to these already-cute critters.
In terms of the app, it works most of the time. We had a few disconnections during our gameplay but nothing game breaking. There is very little lag between the app and console which makes the experience fluid and seamless. Melbits World is pretty simple but it is what makes the game so great. I love a couch party game and it is just that. You will end up screaming at friends and family for not switching a block in time and frustrated with how useless they are but that is the joy of the game.
This review is based on a review copy sent to us by Melbot Studios
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 14 November 2018 | Price: R329