Metal Unit (Switch) Review
Tons of weapons and abilities to find – encourages experimentation
The built in cheat menu is a welcomed feature for players to experience the game in a way that works for their level of challenge
Takes a few attempts to understand the ins and outs of gameplay
A large spicy character sprite in the main menu will surely attract an eye
Once you find that loadout that clicks, you will feel like an unstoppable badass
Combat is more about finding a killer loadout than skills or creating combos
The narrative gets in the way of the action and quickly becomes moot
A sci-fi action platformer with a pixel art style, Metal Unit puts the player in the shoes of an anime babe wearing skin tight mech armor. Although the overall roguelite format isn’t anything new, players will stay for the wealth of available weapons and unlockable abilities.
From a narrative stand point, there is a lot happening behind the scenes and well before the player presses Start for the first time. Basically you are trying to find your sister that turned rogue, it seems that Judgement Day was released upon the world, the cyberpunk city scape hub world places the setting in a dystopian future… there is a lot here if so inclined. For those looking for action, the story can almost be completely ignored though.
This is a side scrolling 2D roguelite meaning the player will need to start over from the beginning if killed. To ease the pain of death, the player has access to a persistent point based skill tree to unlock new and welcomed abilities. In other words, when you first start, expect to die a lot but know that it gets better as customization points can make you a little stronger with each run.
Along the way, players will eventually gain access to a wealth of weapons and special moves. In fact, there are so many available, it is the biggest bullet point of this downloadable title. When first starting, players are basically stuck with whatever the game drops but can become pretty powerful in time, cheesing the system with killer loadouts once the best weapons are obtained. The archive section from the main menu also keeps track of all the completed stages and weapons that have been unlocked. Like Pokemon, the player will feel the urge to collect them all them even though they might only use a handful of items consistently. Before jumping into the fray, players can experiment with weapons in the digital training facility, encouraging experimentation with different loudouts.
Speaking of loadouts, each weapon and ability is on a cool down timer so the player never has to worry about collecting ammo or conserving magic points. Most cool down timers are lenient too, making the player feel like a powerful badass once you find that weapon or two that really clicks. Again, this puts an emphasis on experimentation as there are so many attack abilities to be found. At the same time, even though there are tons of weapons doesn’t mean there are tons of enemies in which to use them. In time, it starts to get a little grindy killing the same slugs and floaty enemies within each screen. The enemy roster isn’t small but doesn’t keep pace with the amount of weapons available. Level progression is important to mention because the player needs to kill every last enemy in a given area before the way to the next becomes unlocked. Every handful of stages rewards the player with a resting spot to sell unwanted items, recover, and get ready for the next waves. Do that enough times and be presented with large boss battles.
The problem with rogue-based titles can be their difficulty but Metal Unit took this into consideration. From the main menu, the player essentially has access to cheat codes which can be toggled at any time. Want to be invincible? Go ahead, we won’t tell. Want to unlock the armory? Don’t be afraid to exclaim your best Neo “whoa” expression. There are many options to optionally toggle so if you are having difficulty and want to play without certain worries, that is why this menu was created. It is a cool feature that most games neglect or charge paid DLC these days.
Metal Unit strays slightly from the roguelite path by giving the player the power to become overpowered. The large armory of weapons and abilities is easily a key selling point but don’t expect to be addicted to flourishing combos. Large environments are also fun to explore but still manageable without tediously getting lost or wondering where to go next. It isn’t perfect but there is a lot to like and one of the better recent roguelites I have played.
Also available on PC.
Also Play: Explosionade DX
Don’t Forget About: Mana Spark
Be Sure to Check Out: Fury Unleashed
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
Please consider supporting me on Patreon.