Megaton Rainfall has been around for a while now, initially released in late 2017 on the PS4/PSVR and PC. This week sees its release on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, as well as the arrival of PC VR compatibility, bringing this frankly astonishing title to a wider audience.
Taking the role of an otherworldly superhero only referred to as the “offspring”, players have one single mission to complete - save Earth from an army of alien invaders, under the watchful eye of an unseen megapower. It's a simple premise that serves its purpose perfectly and manages to be mysterious, compelling, and strangely emotional all at the same time.
These invading aliens have a huge variety of ships at their disposal, but the Offspring quickly becomes powerful enough to take them down. Weak spots on the alien machines can be attacked for quick kills, while some can simply be blasted into oblivion. Others require a more thoughful approach through the use of your various powers, with new abilities bestowed upon players at the end of each mission. Some are more useful than others, and most have a fairly long cooldown period so it isn't possible to simply blast away with your most lethal attacks, but every single one of them is fun to use. Be careful though, as the aliens aren't the only threat to the city - your attacks can cause collateral damage if anything is caught in the crossfire. The Offspring itself can't die, but each city has a health meter and when it reaches zero - either from being overwhelmed by the invaders or through your own carelessness - the mission is over. Anything and everything can be destroyed, and it's utterly awe-inspiring and really quite heartbreaking to see entire skyscrapers crumble to the ground soundtracked by the terrified screams of innocent citizens.
Flying around the fully-realised 3D model of Earth is a genuinely exhilarating experience, rising up through the atmosphere to gain speed (up to a trillion times the speed of light!) before heading back down through the clouds to begin your next battle. Cities are semi-procedurally generated, and while not being exact replicas of real-world locations there are many familiar landmarks that reinforce the idea that the world as we know it is in danger. Many of these cities are bathed in a stunning golden hue, lending the game a unique and massively appealing aesthetic that's going to stick in the memory for years to come. Texture fans might not be massively impressed, especially when you get closer to the ground and notice the finer details of the environment (or lack thereof), but if that's what it takes to get a game like this running, we're more than willing to ignore its rougher edges.
Megaton Rainfall might have some graphical shortcomings when compared to many other modern titles, but the fantastic gameplay, mysterious story and excellent soundtrack elevate the overall experience way beyond the sum of its parts. Taking that into consideration, along with the insane scope of the game's universe and the undeniable technical wizardry that's gone into its development, this really is something quite special indeed. Easily one of the greatest superhero game ever made, and should definitely be near the top of the list when 2018's games of the year are being discussed. Titles like this don't come along too often, and it would be an absolute crime for it to be ignored.
MEGATON RAINFALL / DEVELOPER: PENTADIMENSIONAL GAMES / PUBLISHER: PENTADIMENSIONAL GAMES / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH (REVIEWED), PC, PC-VR, PS4, PSVR, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW