Title: Metallic Child
Developer: Studio HG
Release Date: September 16, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
I’m sure you’ve played your fair share of roguelikes this year, but let me avert your gaze to the rogue-lite genre. A genre that has an obtainable ending and challenging system without the need for countless deaths to progress. Today we’re looking at Studio HG’s Metallic Child, an exceptionally unique rogue-lite adventure that has the only goal of making the player feel like a badass.
Metallic Child thrusts you into the action as you assume the role of a streamer who has found an android girl named Rona on the verge of dying. However, with your help, she’s able to move and navigate the world to stop her android siblingsand confront her mother, who is planning on crashing a ship into Earth. The goal is clear, defeat all of Rona’s sisters and then take out her mom.
The pacing of the story immediately slows down once you get into dialogue, though. The narrative is akin to a visual novel with long moments of interaction between characters. The gameplay doesn’t start until around 20 minutes after the tutorial, which thankfully can be skipped. However, that’s not the end of dialogue as Rona has a lot to say, so expect lengthy conversations with her companion Pan and other NPCs met in the dungeons.
On that note, the story is much better than your typical rogue-lite, but you’ll have to be anticipating this. Side quests opt to establish NPCs as if they are beneficial to the narrative at large when they have no real impact on it. Still, they provide fun sidequests that end up breaking up dungeon exploration.
Once you get into gameplay, I don’t believe that I had time to really think about what the hell I was doing. Every action and every fight happens so incredibly fast that I ended up making actions without understanding the consequences or caring. You see, Rona has a few different weapon types at her disposal and more to be unlocked through gameplay. She has a light, strong, and charge attack, which can be used with a grab and throw attack. It seems convoluted at first, but you’ll begin to make your way through levels with ease after a while.
Each room of the dungeons contains waves of enemies. To escape, you’ll need to clear the room, which is then scored and provides a reward. The action revolves around Core which are heavily randomized buffs or debuffs. Some enemies drop their Core which Rora can eat, and you pretty much just get whatever it offers. This can be a buff, but it could also be corrupt, with various results, including stat decreases and obscured vision. To remove this, you’ll need to wait for a monitor to appear after a fight, which can then install new cores or remove cores.
I should re-iterate that all of this happens exceptionally fast. First, you don’t know what Cores you will get or what rewards will come from clearing a room. Then out of nowhere, your Core levels up, and you may not understand how this benefits you, but hey, it happened.
I don’t know why I liked this aspect of gameplay so much. It was like sensory overload, but in a controlled way where I had time to respond to whatever the hell was happening. That said, taking time to understand exactly what all these systems do would be beneficial, but I completed the game in 15 hours and still have no clue how everything worked. That’s not a negative either; I’m glad the game allows this level of enjoyment even when you don’t completely understand the nuances, yet, you can still benefit from them.
As you play, you’ll collect Discs, which are used to upgrade weapons and buy cosmetics. However, I didn’t like how you can also use Discs in dungeons to buy stuff or upgrade systems because, as I said, everything happens quickly, and I often spent Discs that I would have rather saved.
Each dungeon has multiple floors capped off by a dungeon boss who is actually one of Rona’s siblings. I wish these characters were better fleshed out. You pretty much meet them right before the fight and then take their power to use in battle. However, the designers decided to make them really cool, so I wouldn’t have minded some brief exchanges between levels.
Further, difficulty can be an issue at times, but you’ll quickly learn to get through encounters unscathed. It’s possible to even get through a boss encounter without getting hit. After a while, you can cheese your way through fights by throwing enemies into hazards and simply spamming some of the overpowered skills you’ll surely pick up. Still, compared to how inexperienced play looks versus the opposite, I’d say there’s a healthy growth of skill achieved during the runtime.
There are further challenges and other rooms for Rona to unlock, but I found myself more attached to the addictingly fast dungeon exploration. Environments more or less look similar, but the game sometimes throws new perspectives or mini-games at the player to shake things up. I enjoyed the voice-over and character designs, which made the long moment of dialogue easier to stomach.
Metallic Child is a rogue-lite with a grand narrative of saving Earth through some truly addicting action systems. The fast-moving structure of dungeon exploration is complemented by engaging combat mechanics and ever-changing challenges. The challenge becomes easier to manage in the later hours. Still, the repetitive gameloop weighs on the experience if you aren’t in the mood for lengthy dialogue and cheesing your way through encounters using the same combos.
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