Metal Torrent Review: Thin and Frail
It has the look of an old-school top-down shooter and immediately brings back memories of the quarter-sucking shooters of the ’80s arcade era. Upon closer inspection however, the title is seen for what it really is, a stripped-down, poorly executed excuse for a shoot-em-up.
The gameplay engine is a joke. With just two gameplay modes, which vary in difficulty immensely, the game essentially caters to the newbie and the hardcore only. If you’ve never played a shoot-em-up before, Metal Torrent isn’t the worst place to start. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll manage to whiz through the easy modes and get frustrated with the more difficult ones. If you fall somewhere in-between these two classifications, it’s probably best that you find something else to play.
At its heart, Metal Torrent is a shooter that’s all about high scores. Able to trade your mega scores with internet-based leaderboards is cool enough, but what about making the game enjoyable to play?
Seems like the game’s developer, Arika, forgot to do the most important thing here as what could have been a fast-paced shooter is quickly monotonous and boring.
The biggest problem present in Metal Torrent is you never know what enemy attacks do damage. During gameplay, the screen is literally flooded with enemy fire. You’d think if any of it hits you, you’re a goner, but that’s not the case. Even after repeated plays, it’s impossible to know what enemy attacks will destroy your shop. You have the ability to absorb enemy fire and protect yourself, but this feature lacks real polish. It looks nifty and can be effective in boss fights, but overall, the game ultimately falters on the weakness of what was supposed to be its biggest gameplay innovation.
The fact that all the levels, or phases, look exactly alike, doesn’t help its case either. Bland and boring, after about 15 minutes, this retro shooter gets older than Defender. With a decent graphical engine and plenty of challenge, this could have been a fun, off-beat DLC. All this game needed was a few different looking levels and a damage system that actually worked.
Instead it’s just a nuisance that disguises itself as something potentially cool.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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