On paper, Metal Tales: Overkill seems like it has a ton of things that interest me. Twin-stick shooter gameplay? Check. Roguelike genre with heavy metal music? Check and check. It seemed like the new game from developer Zerouno Games was a guarantee win in my eyes but upon playing it I discovered that it has quite a lot of issues preventing it from being as good as it could’ve been.
The basic setup of Metal Tales is that a god named Kuk has taken possession over the guitar gods which in turn has given him control over all the metalheads. Now he is using his zombie metalheads to create limitless concerts and wipe out the creation of metal bands and their fans. It’s pretty absurd and it’s all told through an animated cutscene whose voice acting I couldn’t understand but luckily the subtitles helped. When you start out, you’ll have to ability to play as one of two different characters with two more being unlocked as you get further in the game. Also, you can play the whole game with a friend locally if you want but sadly there is no online play option.
The gameplay is presented from a top-down perspective and the controls should be easy to get a handle on. The left stick controls your movement while the right stick controls your aiming. Aiming and firing can also be done using the face buttons on the DualSense with each one shooting in a different direction. I’m not really sure why you would do this over the stick though as it is way more cumbersome and doesn’t give you the full range of directions. R2 handles shooting while the other shoulder buttons allow you to perform a slide and use items. There are six levels in the game with each one being made up of procedurally generated rooms so they’ll always be different. For the most part though you’ll be doing the same thing over and over which is moving from room to room killing anything within them, collecting stuff, visiting shops, facing a boss, and so on.
My main issues with Metal Tales are that the game isn’t clear about some things, has quite a few bugs, and just doesn’t do much that I haven’t seen other games do better. I encountered bugs that made it so my buttons weren’t responsive forcing a restart and some visual bugs as well. The unclear parts come from upgrades that you pick up along the way or buy using money you earn from missions. They don’t really tell you what they’ll do so you really have to try and figure out what it is that you just picked up. This is also true when visiting the shops as you can buy upgrades here but there is no explanation as to what you are buying. You just have to pick one and hope what you just bought is something useful to you. One of these upgrades I got just so happened to make killing everything in the game super easy for me which then caused me to reach the end really fast.
What also doesn’t help the game is that the visual design of it is pretty bland to look at. There are a few different environments but it all still just ends up feeling the same whether it be the levels or the enemies you’re fighting. The music was enjoyable to me with a bunch of indie metal bands being represented. I didn’t know any of them but I enjoyed it. Trophy hunters will find 17 trophies in the game including a Platinum. The list is pretty easy but you currently can’t earn the platinum due to yet another bug as the trophy for dying 100 times isn’t unlocking for me.
Metal Tales: Overkill’s twin-stick shooting gameplay and metal soundtrack is enjoyable for a short while but it falls out of tune fast. The game is kind of ugly to look at and you’ll likely finish it or grow bored of it pretty fast as I did. The game also needs a patch or two to fix some annoying bugs. It can be a fun time waster for an hour or two either by yourself or with a friend locally but it doesn’t have much to offer outside of that.
*Metal Tales: Overkill is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.