Metagal is a side-scrolling platformer developed by RetroRevolution and published by the fine folks at Ratalaika Games S.L. It tells the story of a cybernetic girl named Meta on a rescue mission to save her creator, Dr. Ray, and fellow cyborgs from the clutches of General Creeper and his evil robotic militia. I would like to start by stating that this game is very similar to any of the mainline Megaman titles and when I say similar, I mean near identical. Now don’t get me wrong: clones can be great! They give the possibility to break off into their own unique style later down the road. However, they can sometimes leave people wanting more and hoping they lived up to the originators that brought them into existence. Let’s hope this game fire on all cylinders and propels above the rest. Ok, that is enough robotics puns…for now!
The main concept of Metagal is to traverse your way through a themed maze-like stage filled to the brim with enemies that end in battling one of your corrupted robot sisters. Each Gal Boss (as they are addressed as in the game) possesses their own special power that can cause issues for Meta on her adventure and acts as a barrier from other characters. Similarly to Megaman, once you defeat a Gal Boss, you absorb their power and add it to your arsenal for future use and puzzle-solving. These power-ups should be your primary concern when it comes to damage allocation and should be used only when you can’t run, jump, or shoot your way out of an altercation. Normal enemies shouldn’t provide too much hassle and should be easily dispatched, but the mini-bosses and Gal Bosses will take a little bit of ingenuity and thinking to counter them with ease. Or maybe, you are just one of those lucky guys that only need to look at an adversary for them to tremble in their boots.
Eight levels! We must conquer eight levels to save the day and rescue our dear friends. Shortly after completing the tutorial, you are allowed to choose between four different stages, Gal.01 Shield, Gal.02 Dash, Gal.03 Buster, and Gal.04 Warp. These levels can be completed in any order and act as the main abilities you will earn throughout your playthrough. Upon completing those you will unlock another Gal Boss and the Fortress encounter that leads up to the big baddie himself, General Creeper. I recommend learning the skills and testing out every combination before you find what you like. Obviously, you can just run through one after another and do just fine, but if you study the weaknesses of your opponents, then maybe you can find something to give you an edge over them in combat.
We all know that the old school platformer genre can be difficult and a bit rage-inducing if you are like me and suck at them. So, with that in mind, I was a bit worried going into Metagal as I feared I would get stuck somewhere forever and not enjoy myself. Well, while that still happened, we were all fortunate enough to have a system in place to save our sorry asses. Or maybe just mine: that is still up in the air. Known simply as the Gear system, it provides a safe haven from death as long as you have at least one gear collectible on hand. Even better is the fact that these things are scattered throughout a level and can be collected multiple times if you die at a checkpoint prior to picking one up. So you won’t be screwed if you collect a gear and then nail that ridiculously hard jump just to fall to your death seconds later. I enjoy the idea of being able to try again and again without having to worry about getting a game over and returning to the beginning of the stage.
The 16-bit visuals do wonders for this game and help cement the type of retro experience you are probably expecting from a game like this. Metagal provides a sense of difficulty that is synonymous with games of the era and provides that nostalgic itch that fans are always seeking. The sprites and animations look awesome and although I am not huge on retro-inspired graphics, I really enjoyed myself. The soundtrack, on the other hand, was not really that memorable and left a lot to be desired. In the end, Metagal is a fun Megaman clone that delivers a lot for both fans and newcomers. The game is only priced at $5 USD so I would recommend checking it out, even if you are on the fence. It is fun, nostalgic, and light-hearted enough to be enjoyed by almost everyone.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7.5/10
+Interesting Level Designs
+Awesome Boss Fights
+Low Price Point
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