Isometric puzzle games pretty much have me at hello. There's something about the lovely god-like viewpoint that gives me a sense of wonder, in addition to a strict sense of control, that I really dig. Monument Valley [$3.99] is pretty much the king of the mobile space when it comes to those experiences, yet a number of games have risen to the call and have cemented themselves as worthy adversaries. While Mekorama [Free] isn't as attractive when it comes to its art style (the base game clocks in at just 8MB!), it makes up for it in charm, and a pretty nifty level editor.

Unlike a lot of other daunting puzzle games, Mekorama is highly accessible. You'll control a little robot as he embarks upon a journey to a set goal location, controlling him by tapping where you want to head to. Since each space is broken up in a grid-like fashion, it's easy to figure out exactly where the robot needs to go by tapping an individual square. There's pretty much no room for error, even on a device with less screen real estate. If I had one criticism regarding the camera though, it would be that the zoom function is a little too basic. By pinching to zoom  you can get closer to the action, but unfortunately there's no way to focus in on the character itself -- so often times zooming in is pointless.

Meko 1

The high focus on verticality allows for some pretty cool concepts, to be sure. There's levels where you'll descend underwater in attempt to locate a goal obfuscated by liquid, and challenges where one might have to take a leap of faith to drop to a lower platform. You can't just tap anywhere and automatically win either -- players will need to flip the camera angle around and look at every possible angle to make their way to the end. When tools and other objects enter the picture, it becomes more than just a point and click affair. As a side note, I really love how the little guy sways his arms and flails around when moving -- it's a great touch.

The best part isn't the official set of levels though (of which there are 50, and last a long, long while), it's the QR custom design aspect. Yep, the game allows you to create a level, create an QR code, and then scan a creation in. This is important for myriad of reasons, most notably the fact that it allows for players to craft a series of stages with one united theme. I had a go at it myself, creating several levels that all had a big focus on going underwater constantly in an attempt to disorient people. Again, it's the little touches that make this game, and the "title cards" for every creation that list the name of the level and the author beside a visual snapshot representation are amazing. Go ahead and check out our official forum topic to get some ideas -- there's a lot of really great ones in there.

While Mekorama couldn't be more endearing even if it tried, it somehow manages to top itself with its "pay what you want" scheme. Yep, you can download the entire game for free, no questions asked, and if you like it, you can "tip" the developer with as little as a $0.99 purchase all the way up to $31.99. The higher end isn't even anything to scoff at either, because if the community continues to make fun levels day in and day out, you'll likely get your money's worth there. After playing game after game with predatory IAP tied to crucial meters or gameplay mechanics, it's refreshing to see something like this out there, and I hope it works out.

A lot of passion went into this "pay what you want" project, and I highly suggest checking it out. Mekorama might not wow you from minute-one with incredible visuals, but once you start getting addicted to the QR creation aspect, you may not be able to put it down or a while. I would absolutely be up for a sequel with new mechanics and the same focus on sharing levels with the community.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • baldeagle86

    This game is AMAZING! Instead of a sequel though, why not just hope the developer updates the current game with new content?

  • daniel0025

    Really solid game. It's polished, charming and addictive. This developer went the extra mile with the "pay what you want" scheme. I hope this game succeeds.

  • ValentiaLyra

    Lovely, charming, fun and clever--and the fun will never end because there are soooo many player-created levels, and they just keep coming!

  • korossyl

    I still feel funny about the payment scheme. I downloaded it, played about 5-7 minutes, didn't like it, deleted it. I didn't pay for it. But the developer has no idea how long I played, or why I didn't pay -- just that there was an installation and no IAP, and now my statistic is going to be lumped in with all other genuine freeloaders. Yes, I fully understand that this is a silly concern. But it's still an uncomfortable, sort of awkward feeling.

    I feel bad even for making this comment; am I really crticizing a dev for letting me try something for free? Maybe I'm the reason we can't have nice things?

    • sakara214ever

      get a life

    • nini

      Sounds more like you just don't want to be classed as a freeloader, understandable but totally irrational.

    • dancj

      The dev tried this knowing some people will play and like and pay, some will play and like and not pay and some will not like it and not pay. By choosing to go this route the dev has nicely eliminated the people who pay and then don't like it. Don't sweat it.

    • Wizardling

      Heh. You did what is expected: you didn't like it, so you didn't pay. That's exactly how shareware has worked for decades 🙂

  • Adollin

    I am enjoying the game helps pass the time on my L rides so I gladly showed my appreciation with an IAP. I feel the dev has taken a welcoming unique take on Try it and buy it.

  • BTA

    I played through all of it fairly quickly (though I did use hints at times), and at some point gave them $1. It's a neat game and I'd be interested in trying custom levels, but some of the default levels were just outright bad. Anything relying on the physics is an overly frustrating mess, and though this was eventually redeemed a little by levels that relied on you falling, it still felt very clumsy and aggravating. Same goes for the levels with other robots- it wasn't clear that they only turned right until I activated a hint on a relevant level, and before that it just felt like I was being blocked from progressing for no reason as I had to wait till I got them to move forward by chance. It all felt very unpolished in a way that made me question the comparisons to Monument Valley, since though they're similar in a lot of ways, Monument felt much less annoying to play and more polished overall.

    Additionally, their reminders to get you to pay money would have been fine except I started getting messages designed to trick you (ex: switching up the wording of the question so you'd hit the wrong choice by mistake) into getting sent to the payment page, which just felt bothersome.

  • AtomicBananaFruitHatMan

    What's even more impressive is that the Android version is only 4 MB! The second impressive thing is that this game isn't made by developers, but one single developer, Martin Magni. This game is now one of my all-time favorite mobile game, and I'm having a blast with it!

  • cy@n

    Overrated.
    Amazing graphics but the gameplay gets boring by the time.

  • BingoBang

    I decided to pay 4 euro for Mekorama, the developer (a sort of "one-man-band") deserved it.

Mekorama Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4.5