When the Evercade was first announced, it was assumed that we’d basically see old games being made available again – which is great, but it was a very pleasant surprise when unreleased games and even ‘modern retro’ indie titles were also revealed on some cartridges.

That’s what we have here, with Mega Cat Studios Collection 1. The games on this cartridge have all been released on cartridge for formats such as the NES or Mega Drive, which generally means that they mirror the technical limitations and even gameplay mechanics of games from yesteryear too. In some cases, it works nicely – in others, well, not so much at all.

Let’s start with the games I really didn’t enjoy.

Creepy Brawlers is a Punch Out-style boxing game featuring a lurid colour scheme and monstrous opponents. Though that sounds like lots of fun, unfortunately it’s just a boring and often frustrating game that leans far too heavily on outdated mechanics to be enjoyable. Log Jammers – despite some genuinely nice pixel art – was a game I didn’t much care for either, but that’s likely due to the fact that I don’t have a great deal of patience for – or interest in – retro sports games. Almost Hero is a River City Ransom-esque beat ’em up, but it just felt a little too obtuse and dependent on careful timing to be much fun (so yes, I guess my lack of patience isn’t necessarily limited to just retro sports games then!).

Creepy Brawlers

Now onto the better stuff. Justice Duel is a batshit crazy updating of arcade classic Joust with some very surreal lore involving cyborg versions of past US Presidents – it just about works. Little Medusa is a challenging, top-down action puzzle game with some genuinely charming visuals and interesting mechanics. Old Towers is a tough-as-nails 16-bit puzzle platformer that’s actually pretty addictive.

Multidude

The cream of the crop for me though are beautiful scrolling beat ’em up Coffee Crisis – which has a great soundtrack – the Strider-esque Tanzer (another game that has superb music), addictive platform painting puzzler Super Painter and lastly, the clone-manipulating puzzle action of Multidude, which for me is the best game on the cartridge. Though Multidude isn’t the most visually striking game included, the gameplay truly shines and elevates it beyond the other games in the collection.

It’s almost the very definition of a mixed bag and – though I use that term a lot when talking about Evercade cartridges – it really does fit here. Your interest in the games included will likely hinge on whether or not you have specific nostalgia for the machines or games that the Mega Cat titles seek to emulate. From a modern perspective, several of these titles should really have gone beyond just slavishly sticking to the ancient mechanics and styles of the past.

You can purchase the Mega Cat Studios Collection 1 cartridge from Amazon here.

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