Meon: It May Be Ugly, But It’s Refreshingly Fun [Android]
A lot of games tend to be rehashes of the same concept. Meon isn’t one of them. If I had a dollar for every mobile clone of Tetris, Pong, Breakout, Asteroids, Snood, Bejeweled, tower defense , etc. then I’d probably have enough to retire. Fact is, it’s rare to find new concepts in mobile gaming; instead, we usually just end up with refinements which are admittedly nice, but sometimes we need breaths of fresh air. Meon may have its flaws, but it presents a new gameplay concept that I haven’t seen before.
At first glance, Meon feels retro. The art style is reminiscent of the original Pac-Man, where the background is flat black and the game entities are colored bright neon. Meon isn’t anything like Pac-Man in terms of gameplay, though; it’s actually something of a semi-real-time puzzle game, but more on that later.
I think I’m one who’s able to distinguish between art that is purposely ugly and art that doesn’t know that it’s ugly. While I’d really like to be able to say that Meon’s extremely subpar graphics are intentional, I can’t really say that with confidence. The sprites are overly simplistic and the text is just a pain to read. Surely the author could’ve paid an artist $50 to quickly whip up something better?
Similarly, when you first load up Meon, you’re met with a childish, happy-go-lucky music theme that seems more suited for a Japanese children’s show. Unlike the graphics, however, the music isn’t overly distracting and it even grows on you after a while.
That about covers all of the bad parts of Meon. The graphics and music could definitely use a lot of work, but those are aspects that can always be improved down the road.
Meon’s gameplay is something of a hybrid between turn-based puzzle games and real-time puzzle games. That’s the only way I know to describe it. You don’t really have “turns”, so to speak, but you do drag objects around one at a time and as you drag then around the screen they react in real-time. If you have a better term for that kind of gameplay, please feel free to correct me.
The main goal of Meon is to light up the circular Meons by touching them with beams of light. As you can see in the screenshot above, the green Meons are constantly shooting beams of light out in a particular direction. As you drag the green Meons around, the light will activate the circular Meons whenever the light is on them. Once you’ve activated all of the Meons, you beat the level.
The circular Meons come in multiple colors, though, and there are tools that can help you to light them all up. For example, there are color prisms and color bricks that will alter the color of the beams as they pass through. There are also mirror tools that change the angle of beams and splitter tools which split a single beam into multiple beams in different directions.
There’s one Meon bug that irked me while I played: the congratulatory text doesn’t disappear on its own (the “You’re so smart!” in the screenshot above). I don’t know if it’s a problem isolated to my device model because I haven’t seen any other complaints about it, but it did get annoying after a while. Luckily, I could clear it by going back to the main menu and returning to the level.
Meon comes in a free Lite version and a paid Full version. The Lite version is limited to 31 levels while the full game has a whopping 120 levels. You can get the Full version for just $0.99 USD. You can also purchase “solvers,” which are one-time-use items that solve the level for you in case you get stuck.
Overall, the game concept is solid. The execution could use a little sprucing up, but those tweaks can always come in later on. Solid gameplay, on the other hand, is hard to come by, which is why Meon is on our Best Android Games list! Give Meon a try if you haven’t played it yet – just make sure you go into it without too high of an expectation.