[Review] Metaloid: Origin – Nintendo Switch

Written by Derek Wright
  • Developer: Retro Revolution
  • Publisher: 7 Raven Studios
  • Release Date: 11/07/2019
  • Price: $6.99 / £6.49
  • Review code provided by 7 Raven Studios

Introducing: Metaloid Switch Review

Imitation is seen in all forms in the video game industry. Taking inspiration here or a nod there, it’s just the way the industry works. Kickstarter seems to run completely on nostalgia and new takes on old ideas. This isn’t a scathing review on not having fresh ideas anymore. This is more of the psychology of why nostalgia pulls us back consistently. I grew up playing Mega Man 2 and 3 more than I probably should have, and because of that, titles like Metaloid: Origin speak to me on a different level. This isn’t something that will be the most mind-blowing or original idea. Think of it more like comfort food, and who doesn’t want to sit down at the end of the day with your favorite food of choice, whether it’s a burger, fish & chips, or what have you.

Alien Invasion

Metaloid is set in a peaceful world that is about to be completely shaken. An alien known as Lucian contacts this world with a proclamation of peace and prosperity. He promises to help introduce new technology and advancements to the planet of Utopia. Lucian keeps his word for a bit, but soon menacing troops begin to appear in and around Lucian headquarters. Now, peace and harmony have been upended and the Metaloids are seeking to retaliate. The king of Utopia reaches out to his Predators, an elite task force, to remove all remnants of the Lucian group from their world. These three warriors now set forth on a journey to save their planet.

Over the game’s nine levels, you see how the Lucian Corporation has shaped the once peaceful Utopia into a military-heavy mining operation. You also discovery a few colorful bosses that try to act serious, but the three main characters, Erika, Zeta and Neva, never let them have a chance. I played as Neva and she only seemed serious when a certain brainwashed individual showed up. The writing was clever and by the end of the game, I was glad to see the villain go down.

Rise of the Machines

As I previously stated, Metaloid recalls many memories of the Mega Man series with its android characters and tight, run-and-gun action. Where this title stands apart from the earlier Mega Man series is that it contains three different characters, each with their own style and upgrades. The upgrades aren’t essential to the game but make it a more enjoyable experience. They can be found in the sprawling levels or unlocked via the skill tree. The skills require gems, which are also scattered about the levels. Big gems are also hidden in each stage, which will give the player five hundred gems, so they are worth finding. These gems also serve as the game’s life system. When you die, you can continue the stage after your previous checkpoint, but you will need to spend fifty gems.

Another item that separates Metaloid from Mega Man is the fact you don’t get your defeated foes’ weapons. I was a bit shocked due to so much DNA being shared between these games, but all the weapons that are available to your characters are tied to the upgrade system. This places a heavy emphasis on exploration in this title and for good reason. These levels are quite big. You can easily follow a straight path to the end, but if you don’t go off the beaten path, you will miss every upgrade and secret. Many of these are hidden behind powerful enemies, which will be sure to test your skills.

Schematics

Metaloid looks like it could be the product of cross breeding Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. The three predators all have animal characteristics and features, while mixing in the anime aesthetic present in later Mega Man titles, such as 7 and 8. It never gets too serious, as the characters are chibi-ized, with their larger heads and smaller bodies. It’s definitely a cute looking game, which may or may not appeal to some gamers. Don’t let the style pull the wool over your eyes, this game can still give you a challenge.

The music in Metaloid took me by surprise, as it doesn’t sound inspired by the Mega Man series, but something born from a non-Nintendo platformer. That’s right, everyone’s favorite hedgehog seems to be inspiration for the OST. The tunes sound like they could be ripped from one of Sonic’s Mega Drive classics. The tunes were pumping and energic which was nice for such an action-packed title.

Faulty Wiring

My brief time spent with Metaloid was split between handheld and docked play sessions. While having the console docked, I was able to appreciate all the detail that was put into the sprite work and have a better sense of scale for the levels. Playing in handheld mode was just as fun. Although, I found myself feeling like the game felt a bit small on the screen. Not to the point that it made it feel unplayable, but it just felt like some enemies and projectiles would sneak up on me more. Sadly, the game crashed on me once during a boss fight. It was in the seventh level and I was close to defeating my enemy. I paused to get a drink and the game just stopped. Thankfully all my progress (gems) were saved and I just had to replay the level.

Final Thoughts

Metaloid is a title that tries to create its own identity but many of its parts scream of their inspiration to a point that it feels more like imitation. At the price though, there is nothing wrong with a bit of impersonation from time to time. It does try to come into its own with its story, characters and art. Then, we see that the music is another imitation, which feels more like a copy than an ode. That still doesn’t change the fact that below all of this is a game that succeeds where many have failed. The solid gameplay carries this game to the finish, and that’s what games are, right? Gameplay first.

Pros

  • Solid run & gun gameplay
  • Cute graphical style
  • Three diverse characters

Cons

  • A bit too close to its inspirations
  • Relatively short
  • Handheld mode doesn’t feel as good as docked

Verdict
Metaloid is a solid Mega Man-like that never strays too far from its muses, but still delivers a solid and enjoyable title.
3/5

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