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Metal Tales: Overkill Review

Metal Tales: Overkill is an action-adventure game from Zerouno Games, where Metal and Adrenaline clash to give you the ultimate 3D roguelike guitar-shooter. Fight against the looming curse affecting your Metal brothers and free them from an ancient evil. It’s up to you to sort this mess out. It’s available on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox and the Switch. The Nintendo Switch version is what we went for.

Banging tunes, but is the game banging as well?

As a metal fan, it’s a game I looked forward to. I’m generally not a huge fan of game music, but for once I might actually be interested in that side of a game. Plus having recently played a fair bit of some similar games like The Binding of Isaac, I had hopes that I’d be entertained in more than one way, considering at times I mute in-game music. Metal Tales: Overkill though is one game where the volume gets turned up! But can the gameplay match some banging music?

The Game

With the action viewed from a top-down perspective, if you’ve played games like The Binding of Isaac then you’ll be familiar with the style. The difference though is that you’re playing a rocking guitar player. Four guitar-wielding heroes are available to control, although only two are available from the outset. Your aim – to save the guitar gods from the evil God Kuk. To do so, you’re going to have to make your way through six gigs using your guitar as a weapon. That’s the whole story. I hear some guitar players screaming that it’s blasphemy to use your guitar as a weapon. And they might be right. But this is a special guitar that is indestructible and can shoot.

The levels are procedurally generated in a grid style. The map is actually rather useful as you can generally tell what’s in an adjacent room before you enter it. The helpful icons on the map indicate whether a room has a dangerous trap in it, a shop or a boss fight.

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One thing to be wary of though is that the gameplay includes perma-death. If you die, you start again. I’ve played more than enough Dead Cells (it’s one of my favourite games, as you’d be able to tell if you follow our “currently playing” series) to be completely cool with that. Disappointingly though, you don’t restart the game with some passive abilities that you collected from your last run. It’s back to square one whenever you die. So explore as much as you can because exploring for the powerups is going to be your best chance at survival. The problem though is that when you encounter a shop you’re not told what something is before you buy it. It’s also the same for upgrades. You’re just kind of expected to learn what things are via their icons, which is a bit of an ask when there are so many.

Runs also include objectives to complete that reward you with a currency. This can be used to buy permanent upgrades once your run is over. Items such as additional guitars that you can then randomly find while playing, damage bonuses, and other upgrades are available. It’s not the best system, but it’s certainly better than nothing. It does allow you to grow more powerful when you inevitably fail until eventually, you’ll be able to clear all the gigs in one run.

Look & Sound

Initially, I absolutely loved the look of the game. There’s a kind of comic book style to it. But after a while, everything just looks the same and becomes pretty bland. A lot of rooms are the same size/shape, and there are just pinball machines and beer barrels in different locations. There’s a lot more that could have been added to add more variety. The only real variety comes from the walls of the rooms you’re in, but even then you can encounter many rooms in a row that could be the same room. The good news though is that the limited selection of furniture and walls are pretty well designed. They look great. I just wish there was more because it loses its cool look fairly quick thanks to most areas looking the same.

I never thought I’d say this about a game… but the music is probably my favourite part. There are some absolutely banging tunes in the game that not only compliment the game but also get you looking up what album it came from. If every game had a soundtrack like this then I’d probably pay attention to the music more often.

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Length & Replayability

Metal Tales: Overkill offers plenty of replayability, but the lack of reward will make you question whether it’s worth it. It’s not an ideal feeling. After a few deaths, you shouldn’t be left wondering whether this is it. Even with brutal games like Dead Cells where you start over every time you die, there’s a rewarding feeling to the game. There are not just biomes, but different difficulties to unlock as you become better and better. That’s what’s missing for me. With any luck, the developers won’t leave the game as it is. Add more levels and furniture to make the rooms offer more variety and the replayability will go up a fair bit.

There is a large achievement list though, so there’s plenty for people to do. And with cooperative gameplay, you can enjoy it with a friend.

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Some optimising definitely needs to be done on the Nintendo Switch though, as the game regularly froze on the loading screen whenever it was in the 90% range. That alone will put some people off playing it on this particular console. One time I almost quit the game after a long wait only for it to load at the last second. No gameplay crashes that I saw, but freezing when loading will leave people thinking that it has crashed.

Overall though, it is a fairly fun and gruesome rogue-lite title. With some additions, it could become a must-play game and one I’d go back to regularly. As it is though, I feel that people will eventually get bored as it all looks similar with a lack of variety and lack of reward. I have high hopes for this game though providing some things are addressed. Hopefully, there’s more to come!

As it is, I can only score Metal Tales: Overkill a 6/10. It’s fun, but only for so long. The soundtrack is brilliant and it’s a fairly user-friendly game for newcomers to this style of game. It has potential and it’ll be down to the developers to make this game a serious contender to much-loved titles like The Binding of Isaac.

A code was kindly provided for us to review this.

We Score This Game

rating score: 6


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