Metaloid: Origin Review

A download code for Metaloid: Origin was provided by 7 Raven Studios for review.
Playing Metaloid: Origin reminds me of the good old days of popping a grey cartridge into your Super Nintendo, pushing that purple power switch to its on position, and releasing that sweet audible click that lets you know it’s game time. Metaloid: Origin is brought to us by the same developer that had a hand in Metalgal, and it’s evident upon watching that game’s trailer. I can’t comment on Metalgal, so I can’t draw comparisons to that game. However, the game does remind me Super Nintendo action games, so I have some idea of what the developer wanted to accomplish. Regardless, the question I ultimately want to answer is this: does its retro inspiration deliver a worthwhile experience? Let’s answer that question by taking a look at the joys and cons of Metaloid: Origin.

Classic Run and Gun Action

It’s pretty apparent that the game draws influence from games of the SNES era, most notably the Mega Man X series. The gameplay is highly reminiscent of those games with your basic abilities include a shooting attack and precise jumping. You also have access to a special attack, which uses its own energy and regenerates after use. Most enemies you come across are easily defeated with your basic weapon, but you’ll run into bigger baddies that require more effort, making new abilities and weapons useful. Essentially, you are tasked with running through a stage, defeating enemies with your weapons, and performing some light platforming where necessary.


Three Characters Offers up Great Replay Value

When you start, you get to choose between 1 of the 3 main characters: Erika, Zeta, and Neva. Each character starts with a simple blaster, however, the character you choose will affect what weapons and special abilities you can buy. You will need to use the game’s currency, soulrium gems, to make your purchase. If you’re not satisfied with the blaster, you may want to try another weapon, but purchased weapons have ammo, so you’ll need to get used to your basic blaster. The new abilities that you can buy are either a powerful attack, new movement options, or even the ability to heal. I used these abilities quite a bit as they really helped get me out of some tricky situations. You will need to farm for gems should you want to unlock all of the available abilities. This doesn’t become an issue because you can revisit stages after beating them.

As you can see, having multiple characters is an easy way to create replay value, especially when they have different abilities. Having each character have their own set of weapons and abilities makes you want to play through the game three times to see everything. There is the option to choose a harder difficulty should you want to make your experience a little different.

Variety in Gameplay and Stage Design

Perhaps the best aspect of Metaloid: Origin is found in the game's stage design. There are nine stages in the game, and while the main gameplay doesn’t vary much, each stage does feel different. This is accomplished largely by the developer’s use of gimmicks throughout the game. Some of these gimmicks include using magnets to progress through a stage, combat bikes to speed through the desert, and even one particular level that changes up the gameplay completely and plays more like a sidescrolling shoot ‘em up. You’ll sometimes be solving puzzles, other times you’ll be travelling vertically, or seeking out cleverly hidden areas. I have nothing but praise for the developer’s ability to put together interesting levels.


Noticeable Audio Glitches

Despite being a great indie title to play, Metaloid: Origin has noticeable audio glitches that occasionally occur. Essentially, when too many sound effects try to play, the game’s audio struggles to stay afloat and you’re left with a shooting sound effect, while everything else is silenced. This is most noticeable during bike and mech riding sections. I will admit, when I first began playing, I did enter the options menu and increased the volume for both the sound effects and music. After some thought, I decided this might have been done for a reason, so I revisited one of the game’s problem areas with the volume for both decreased, and I discovered the glitch still occurs. Not a deal breaker by any means, but thought it happened enough to mention it here. This isn’t something any video game release should have happen.

Indies Love Pixel Art and So Do I

Indie developers love pixel art, and so do I, so seeing another game take the pixel art approach warms my heart. It is nice to see new graphical approaches, however, with the game feeling a lot like a Super Nintendo game, it seems appropriate to use visuals reminiscent of that era. The menu art could probably use some work, however, that didn’t affect my overall experience with the game. The graphics still get a plus in my book.

Conclusion

Metaloid: Origin will likely go down as an underrated eShop gem, which is disappointing because this game surprised me with its fantastic stage design. Not only did it have great stage design, but the gameplay and graphics are fairly faithful to the not so distant gaming past, which is something I always appreciate. There were some audio hiccups, but that shouldn’t deter anybody from picking up this eShop release. Metaloid: Origin is the perfect title if you need to scratch that action run and gun itch.

Final Score: +3

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