What makes the roguelike genre so popular is the sense of variety. Even if enemies or locations are constantly cycled, every run will likely have very different outcomes. Sometimes it’s an amazing run and the bosses die in seconds and other runs you don’t have what it takes to kill the peons. As options increase, there is more of a metagame where what you select, do, or even use will ultimately decide any run where a player lacks the skill to overcome their luck. Among the latest is Metal Tales Overkill, which takes the popular twin-stick shooter, combines it with heavy metal, and tosses in some RNG. It makes for an interesting combo, but can it stand up to the greats?
Metal Tales Overkill starts with a brief introduction to the world. Basically, metal music has a powerful impact on people and you’re dealing with it. There is a general idea of progression like the first two stages are a bar, then a festival, followed by hell, all of where you defeat various bosses that have an impact on the world.
Initially, Metal Tales Overkill makes a rather shallow impression. Levels look rather bland, enemies are marginally different, graphics are poor, with powers/perks being rather vague. There is some trial and error, along with a small sense of understanding of what each enemy can do. This is normal for the genre and can be fun, but not in this case.
Ignoring the rather small set of items in Metal Tales Overkill, there are two outliers. There is an item that turns your attacks into bombs and another that increases damage. The bomb skill would be useful if levels were arranged in a more open way, as getting caught in your own blast causes damage. You’re actually more likely to kill yourself long-term, making it a rather frustrating power. As for super muscle, well, calling it game-breakingly overpowered would be an understatement.
This one perk single-handedly trivializes all difficulty. Not only does it make it so every attack kills normal enemies in a single hit, but bosses can also be downed in up to four hits. As a result, the nuances of the different characters don’t matter, learning enemy tactics is a waste of time, and working on smart plays or anything else is irrelevant because it allows you to circumvent everything for a near-instant win.
An Easy Way to See How Balance is Broken by Certain Items
As an unintended negative, it also makes the short experience really stand out. I was able to finish Metal Tales Overkill on my first attempt in approximately 40 minutes. This one run showed me a good portion of the items, unlocked every character, beat all but two of the bosses, and gave me 12 out of the 17 trophies. I didn’t even upgrade my character once and everything was already done. Given how extremely broken this is, it also breaks any need to really care about playing long-term.
Metal Tales Overkill Review Verdict
Metal Tales Overkill: There really isn't much to say about Metal Tales Overkill. It starts as an okay twin-stick shooter with decent graphics, but there really isn't much to it. One power can break the game, another makes it frustratingly difficult, with everything else offering what you'd expect from a roguelike. It's unfortunate the balance just isn't there, as there is a co-op, multiple characters, a bomb and unlock system, it just gets lost in favor of overwhelming power and lackluster enemies, variety, and replay value. – Grant