Everyone knows that music is an addictive and all-consuming thing. It matters not what genre you enjoy as every song will resonate with your soul. However, there are only a select few that inspire demonic thoughts and aggressive imagery. I am, of course, talking about Heavy Metal music! Yes, the tunes vary greatly, but the perception from the outside is head-banging, mosh pit loving brutes who worship ungodly beings. This idea forms the central plot of Metal Tales: Overkill. It is an aggressive and macabre title that has badass music and many disturbing scenes.
Developed and published by Zerouno Games, this is a 3D rogue-lite shooter. Consequently, you will die a lot, listen to hard-hitting music, and enjoy some dark and gory scenes. Furthermore, there is a sense of Metroidvania in proceedings, and there are lots of items to find and zombies to kill. In short, it ticks many boxes if you love some fast and brutal action.
Metal Tales: Overkill has a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude.
Most rogue-lite games take themselves far too seriously. Metal Tales: Overkill, on the other hand, loves a bit of humour, as the action has many sly comical moments that break up the sombre atmosphere. You’ll find an array of humorous notes attached to many items as you explore the dark labyrinthine world. This was a great decision as it brilliantly breaks up the constant dungeon crawling and fighting with the undead.
The plot revolves around the God Kuk and his demonic plans to take over the world. After the macabre and solemn events of the second chapter, this evil god wishes to finish the job. By possessing every guitar god, he plans to take down the original metal bands and their dedicated fans. By setting up infinite gruesome concerts, he turns these metal loving people into brain chewing zombies. However, not all is lost, as one hero stands in Kuk’s way. This guitar-wielding menace must use their musical abilities to slay every god and zombie and avoid the traps that lie in their path.
Brilliantly gruesome and simple.
The story is frankly absurd, but it sets the scene nicely. Consequently, the thrash music, dark imagery, and gruesome zombies keep you on your toes throughout. However, for all its OTT nature and grand design, the gameplay is extremely simple. Each chapter comprises a large maze-like dungeon filled with monsters, traps, collectables, and a boss. If you survive every ordeal, you will move on to the next gig and it all begins again.
Survival is easier said than done and death wipes your progress. Now, normally this would annoy me, but the procedurally generated dungeons in Metal Tales: Overkill are fascinating to explore. Therefore, I wasn’t so disappointed when I had to start anew. During each run, you have three missions to complete. They are normally basic tasks, but if you are successful, you will earn points towards permanent character upgrades. This was an amazing addition to the gameplay, as in theory, it helped you to progress further. Subsequently, the more you played, the easier it was to progress.
Power-ups, traps, challenges, and gargantuan bosses.
What I loved was the array of different elements that worked in harmony. Whether it was simply blasting zombies with your guitar, grabbing coins to spend in the shop, or testing out new power-ups, it was fantastic. What’s more, there is an array of ability boosting items that increase agility, pace, and power. These were incredible as they change the course of the action in subtle ways. This, combined with the procedurally generated maps, ensures that you never tire of what you experience.
Alongside this, the gargantuan bosses are overpowered, overbearing, and a nightmare. They use every trick in the book to kill you, and you must be quick and think wisely if you wish to succeed. This can also be true of the large list of traps you must face and the challenges you will overcome. What’s fascinating is the challenge and trap rooms that can be explored. These dangerous locations reward you with power-ups and items, but they are designed to kill you. Therefore, you must weigh up the risk before taking a leap of faith.
Metal Tales: Overkill is dark and sinister to observe.
Playing a sombre and melancholy game for hours on end can be depressing. Metal Tales: Overkill takes this idea to the next level with its dark nature and sinister approach. However, the light-hearted and amusing undertones alleviate much of the doomed atmosphere, and this makes it bearable. The action plays out from a top-down perspective that is reminiscent of Smash TV. You must wander small rooms that are dimly lit and coloured with purple hues and deeper tones. Thankfully, though, the obstacles and monsters are easy to see thanks to the contrasting colours and striking sprites. All in all, it looks fantastic, runs well, and does well to incorporate a cruel and claustrophobic atmosphere.
As expected, the audio was hard-hitting and filled with heavy metal thrash music. I adored the original soundtrack even though I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Alongside the loud music, you’ll experience shrill sound effects and grim noises. It was the perfect combination to highlight the doomed plight of the protagonist.
Strange control setup.
As I started, I expected a twin-stick shooter approach. However, what I experienced was a bizarre use of the A, B, X, and Y buttons. These are used to aim and shoot your bullets from your guitar. It was perfectly serviceable, but it restricted your aiming abilities and felt quite limited. Furthermore, it gave the gameplay a distinctly retro appeal. This wasn’t a bad thing, it was just odd and didn’t match the rest of the action. I believe a traditional dual analogue stick approach would have been much better.
Because of the rogue-lite elements, cooperative gameplay, and the large achievement list, there is plenty to see and do. You will return to play this repeatedly to tackle every boss and to experience each character. What’s more, the large array of guitars, power-ups, and the procedurally generated maps ensure that each playthrough is unique.
Metal Tales: Overkill is an excellent addition to the genre.
Rogue-lite shooters are two a penny these days. However, Metal Tales: Overkill stands out from the crowd. Thanks to its gruesome action, hard-hitting audio, excellent but simple graphics, and bizarre plot, it is thoroughly interesting. If you adore the genre, you’ll love every moment of this. But, if you are on the fence, this is a perfectly user-friendly title that is great for newcomers. Consequently, I adored it and I recommend you buy it here! Can you stop the God Kuk in his tracks, or is Heavy Metal forever doomed?