Metagal – Please Nerf

A Mega Man clone for $5? Heck yeah! What could possibly go wrong? Well how about everything. I bought Metagal because of its price and felt a wave of regret almost immediately after seeing the first low quality cutscene art and blurry text. This is an unfinished game that lingered as a Steam green-light title for 3 years with no approval, and has now been dumped on consoles for a few bucks. The very first screen on the Switch version is a blurry Joycon Grip diagram with white background, and it doesn’t really get better in the cutscene. Instead of a full-blown review this is going to be a short impression piece, since I could only stomach playing 4 of the game’s 8 levels. There are zero reviews online listed on Metacritic so I feel a sense of duty to warn people about this game.

You tell em, Ray! Oh but it’s too late, this game has already been made. The text is not just blurry but it’s full of typos, bad spacing and poor grammar. Then the gameplay starts and it looks a bit better. The extremely low resolution art adjusts to a somewhat clear stage layout with a functional background. The basic jump actually feels decent. A few platforms later you realise there’s input lag. There’s a dash that you execute by “pressing dpad button twice times” and you’re meant to jump while dashing to jump further but the lag is so strong it’s difficult to time. The frames drop even with nothing happening on the screen. Sound effects sometimes don’t play if there are too many bullets (four) on screen.

Enemy design is not too bad though. They have some interesting patterns but fighting them is still a painful exercise of input lag and frame drops. For a few screens it’ll feel pretty good and just when you get into it your bullet will disappear or jump will be delayed. The difficulty is fairly easy and you get a very generous amount of health drops to make it even easier, but it still feels difficult to play because of the controls and wonky hit detection.

This game seems to take all of the bad things from Mega Man like infinitely respawning scrolling enemies and rotating flashing platforms, and not many of the good things like responsive controls. It actually has a decent visual style going for it but it all shatters when the sound effects sound so cheap and the movement is so heavy. I can’t really see the appeal for this game other than diehard Mega Man fans who have played existing levels 100 times already and need something new, or masochistic speedrunners.

Metagal is cheap but wouldn’t be worth playing for any price, and it’s the perfect example of why you should value your time over money. It feels like the dev just liked Mega Man and wanted to make Mega Man but didn’t really know what to do. It has no real identity of its own besides having a different character and 30 second story. The single good thing about the game is the excellent song that plays in the intro and trailer, but that only serves to deceive. There’s only one other good song I heard in the Buster level. Yep they still use the word buster too, no creativity here. I’m going to play some Gunman Clive now to wash the rusty taste of bootleg Mega Man out of my mouth. Have a good day.

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