Metal Unit (PC) Preview

By Eric Ace 10.04.2020

Review for Metal Unit on PC

Two genres that seem to be nearly all the rage among indie developers these days are metroidvanias and the rogue-likes; often combined together such as the popular Dead Cells. Developed by a small studio called JellySnow Studio, Metal Unit plays as a largely competent metroidvania as players control a girl with a battle suit who has to fight her way through enemies in a post-apocalypse world, all while slowly getting fed a dark story about betrayal.

Metal Unit feels like a game that is designed by a team that actually understands these types of games. Though it is still in early access, this is more fun than other complete titles in the platforming genre. While it has some issues that will be addressed, overall it is a very fun experience and there are definitely some reasons to keep this on the radar for platformer fans.

The root of the game is a type of rogue-like platformer where the player will come to a random room, fight through all the enemies, and move onto a new room to do the same. The character fights with a sword and gun, both of which are fairly competent, plus combat feels fairly fluid. This is improved greatly by a dash move that renders the player invincible, and as a result the combat feels fast and fun, dashing around while beating down enemies.

At this point the story is not really touched on, but there is a lot of promise here if it can deliver. You are treated to a sexy anime girl who is a pilot of some advanced battle suit, with hints that her sister somehow betrayed humanity. There are also lots of hints about time travel, or clones told through literal Metal Gear Solid-esque 'codec' conversations.

Screenshot for Metal Unit on PC

These codec-style conversations are actually really cool. This brings up an interesting problem of the game though - an inconsistent art direction and a feeling of dissonance. This could be part of being early access. As an example - on one hand you are given cool MGS conversations, but then the very next scene could be the character now looking like a chubby chibi model which is very odd for this. This is also furthered by very cartoony and cute 'anime faces,' which again comes off as inconsistent, as if a bunch of people were just cut in half with blood leaking out of them. One other weird issue is that the enemies are mostly slimes that look straight out of Maple Story, which leads again to the tone-whiplash, as this is some sort of apocalypse, yet the enemies are innocent looking slimes.

At this point the biggest problem is a likely incomplete gameplay loop. The player travels through a bunch of maps, gets some new gear, and eventually makes it to the end of the boss or dies. If you die, you are thrown back to the beginning with zero progress or updates beyond a few coins that can be used to buy some very weak weapons. The store page hints at "upgrades", so hopefully there will be some sort of skill system or permanent upgrades.

There are some clear balance issues, as it is it is far easier to just stay back and slowly hammer away at enemies, simply because life is so hard to come across. It takes away from the fun. Furthermore, the story really, really needs to be expanded as it seems pretty cool. Lastly, there simply needs to be more upgrades. These sound like a slew of complaints, but it is really because this is pretty good already, and if the developer hammer these out, it can easily be the next Dead Cells. It has tremendous potential.

Screenshot for Metal Unit on PC

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of great things to say about this. It's fun, responsive, and the story (what little there is) is intriguing. At this stage, it is tough to tell what the final gameplay loop will be as this is in desperate need of permanent upgrade systems. Furthermore, some very odd art directions are internally inconsistent and will hopefully be sorted out.

Developer

JellySnow Studio

Publisher

Neowiz

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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