Even though its popularity died in the 90s in the face of the grunge movement, heavy metal still lives on with many. Surprisingly enough, it’s retained a pretty fresh face in the game industry as well, with thanks to the cult classic Brutal Legend. Now, Zerouno Games hopes to carve out its own headbanging niche with the Zelda-like Metal Tales: Overkill.
The game has you playing a hard-rockin’ hero who needs to battle the evil God Kuk. He’s gone and possessed all the rock gods and fans to do his will. In an effort to keep the music alive, you’ll need to “rock back” and save the day. You’ll do so with power-ups, new weapons, and more.
There’s some freshness to Metal Tales, but it can’t quite live up to its epic theme. Here’s why.
Some Variety, But Also Frustration
The game features six different characters in all, each with guitars that serve as firing weapons throughout the world. They’ll also be able to pick up power-ups with lasting effects, as well as “boosts” through various band members. (Who would’ve thought that you could weaken a devastating rock god with the help of a keyboardist?)
You’ll clear out room-to-room, Zelda style (well, closer to The Binding of Isaac, actually), avoiding traps and clearing out foes. As you do so, more will unlock, including challenge rooms and, eventually, the level’s boss room.
However, it just feels inconsistent for the most part. What may seem like a breeze in one room all of a sudden jumps to “11” difficulty in the next. Once you’re dead, that’s about it, and you start over fresh. You can earn long-term perks to help over your next run, but it’ll take forever to find that sweet axe and power-ups to guide you along. This game would’ve fared much better with balance.
Not to mention, some power-ups just plain stink. There are good multi-firing guitars that offer efficient riffs. However, there are also ones that are more powerful, but inaccurate. These are especially frustrating during boss fights, and the only way to reset is to pretty much die and start over. Again, it’s that lack of consistency that keeps this rock show from succeeding.
Not a Bad Presentation At All
While the gameplay leaves a lot of questions, the presentation is, ahem, rock solid. The visuals provide a nice, rock-fueled world to explore. The enemies are a nice touch, and the rooms themselves resemble something out of Ozzy Osbourne’s basement. The bonus rooms, with running saws and other traps, are also a nice touch.
Really, though, you come to a game like Metal Tales: Overkill for the music. It jams like no one’s business, with a lot of hard-rockin’ themes. They’re especially good for the boss battles, as you challenge each one to their own special entrance music. There’s a lot to like here, and some of it may even get stuck in your head.
Metal Tales: Overkill, Sadly, Lives Up To Its Name
While Metal Tales: Overkill rocks out with its sweet visuals and varied soundtrack, it just can’t get past its gameplay hitches. It’s frustrating having to lose so much over a bad choice or a heinous difficulty setting. What’s more, some of the power-ups are just worthless, when they could’ve been better with a little bit of tweaking. Hard rockers that don’t mind a challenge may indulge, but others may want to wait for a game-improving patch first.
VIBE RATING: 6/10
Need another blast from the past? Check out our review of the 80s-inspired Blast Brigade!