Even ignoring the fact that Megaton Rainfall was created by one man, this game is a technical marvel on the scale of a No Man’s Sky or other similar procedurally generated games. You play as Superman in all but name, and your task is to protect the Earth – amid brief vacations among the stars, of course. Sound fun? It’s actually not as entertaining as you may imagine.
There can be no faulting the ambition here: you can quite literally tour the universe if you so choose. More pressing matters are occurring in the Milky Way, however, where a nefarious gang of nasty aliens known only as the Invaders have decided to flatten mankind. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fight back.
The best thing about being an all-powerful being is that you’re, well, an all-powerful being. As such, no Martian is able to damage your invincible frame. Instead your health is measured by humanity itself: allow the Invaders to level Earth and you’ll be taken back to the last checkpoint. Of course, it isn’t just extra-terrestrials that represent a threat to the world.
Collateral damage plays a huge role in this release, as if you miss with your projectiles there’s a good chance innocent humans will pay the price. The game plays with this mechanic, introducing skittish enemies with each new mission, each designed to bring your accuracy down. It’s a good idea but it’s incredibly irritating, and rather than feel like an all-powerful being, you end up feeling weak.
The game just doesn’t quite come together: nuclear bombs can be picked up and tossed away to safety, but sometimes they’ll catch on the scenery as you draw them in, accidentally imploding entire cities before your eyes. Power-ups, such as a time freezing mechanic, are attached to a timer, so you have to wait for them to recharge – apparently even gods have to deal with cooldowns.
The optional PlayStation VR support is extremely impressive, and the sense of scale is unprecedented: you can literally fly from street level to an entirely different solar system without loading. Sure, there’s a bit of pop-in and judder as the title transitions between the various planes of the universe, but we’ll forgive the release’s single developer for such minor flaws.
Still, even though the title only has nine main missions, we wanted it to end much earlier. The combat is slow and sluggish, which contrasts the finicky nature of the foes and makes for a rather unfun experience. Factor in the silly, self-serious sci-fi story, and you’re left with a game that has all the ingredients for something spectacular, but one that doesn’t quite get the recipe right.
Megaton Rainfall is an incredible accomplishment, but not one that we particularly liked to play. The sense of scale is outstanding – and it’s even more impressive with PlayStation VR – but the cumbersome combat grates almost as badly as its cringe-inducing storyline. It would appear that even being a literal god isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.