There’s been ample time to play Metal Tales: Overkill, thanks to an early review code. However, despite the time advantage, there’s not been much in the way of progress. Y’see, this is a pretty rough game.
It pains me somewhat to say that this has one of the best soundtracks since Valfaris, but there are zero gains in progress. As a rogue-like, you’ll start each run at the beginning; only the advantage is you’ll have some passives that will give you a slight edge over the last attempt, right? Wrong.
After a comic book style introduction, the remainder of the story is dropped in favour of gameplay. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s problematic to connect with this game, despite the music themes.
Metal Tales: Overkill is about relinquishing the evil that has possessed the metal gods and their fans. How do you do that? Axe power – as in, guitar axe power. A twin-stick shooter, you’ll dash around each room blasting power chords at the fans, neutralising all threats, move on to the next room and rinse and repeat.
Our benchmark then is Smash TV. It’s a similar set-up, but mute the game, and it loses its identity immediately. The colours are very rich, blending into one another so that it’s difficult to pick out character models, and though the music is fantastic, the sound effects are dire and repetitive. Having the patience of a saint (however you measure that), I’d repeat each run in the hope of unlocking something new, but alas, it was mostly misery.
Misery is overdramatic; it was more frustration, slight rage, and boredom. Besides the standard rooms, there are trap rooms which almost always take off your health for minimal reward, plus the obligatory boss stage. It got to the point where I would rush to the boss stage as soon as possible as there was next to no reason to explore as there wasn’t much benefit.
Surprisingly, the bosses in Metal Tales: Overkill don’t require too many hits to be defeated, but their moves often can’t be dodged, and the number of defeats via a cheap shot was depressing. Still, when you die, you’re awarded points for your efforts and completing challenges. However, there’s nothing to spend the points on!
At every opportunity, I would open the upgrades menu, and nothing would be available. Choosing from the two starting characters, the same would apply: they’d have a special triggered by L1, and that’s it. Summons are awarded when beating a boss, but they don’t carry to the next run, so it’s a little meaningless. To say I was disappointed has been an understatement.
The Crackpet Show is a similar title, albeit I’d happily play that again and again as there was progress, a wide variety of weapons and items, but it lacked on the music side. Perhaps the two should meet for drinks? The difference clearly is progress and rewards, but arguably fun – Metal Tales: Overkill felt like a chore – the absolute opposite of what I expected of the game. Apparently, this was released on Steam under the guide of Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods, and judging by a few videos and write-ups, it’s pretty much the same game.
Still, the music is superior, but you could argue that this existed without the game. If anything, I’ve learned of a few bands worth listening to outside of Metal Tales: Overkill, so it hasn’t all been futile. However, that lack of reward just destroys the experience. I even forced my kids to play in co-op to see if that would get us further and unlock anything, but all it resorted to was a Chuckle Brothers “To me, to you” back and forth experience, only we were reviving one another rather than moving furniture. The latter might have been more fun.