Influenced by dungeon crawlers such as Diablo and Gauntlet, MetaMorph: Dungeon Creatures is a fast-paced, top down, hack and slash that requires the player to be quick on their toes to pick the right tools for the job. MetaMorph is currently in its early access stage and I was able to speak with Nick, one of the developers for Firefly Studios, at the PC Gamer Weekender and gained some insight into the development and current state of the game.
The unique feature in MetaMorph is the ability to shapeshift between different forms. Currently there are three playable characters, The quick-footed Rabbit, The Ice Ogre and The fiery Nymph. Mastering when to change to each form is integral to completing a dungeon. The Ice Ogre might be able to go toe to toe with the larger brutish enemies, but his slow attack speed and movement means he is easily swarmed by smaller enemies. His abilities pack a punch and often cause a stun effect so that the player can switch to another form to escape or deal damage to stunned enemies. The Rabbit, on the other hand, excels at taking down crowds of smaller enemies with his sweeping sword attacks but taking a heavy hit will do a lot of damage and stun him.His abilities offer a way out of sticky situations by knocking enemies back or moving swiftly through them. The Nymph acts as the ranged character, she targets the nearest enemy and auto fires at them. While not as fast as The Rabbit, she offers a good balance of maneuverability and attack, easily kiting most enemies and offering burst damage with her abilities. Switching between each character is very fluid, requiring only a tap of the middle mouse button to cycle through them or hitting their assigned number key. There are more unannounced characters in the works but we will have to wait and see who they might be.
In order to unlock abilities the player must spend gold that can only be obtained inside a dungeon. Balancing each character’s skill tree can be slightly difficult as there is no way to know what the next dungeon may hold; the player is entering blind. Nick told me that despite this, the player should be able to complete any level, it may just be more difficult with a loadout that does not quite fit the level. During my play session I found that this holds true. While I did die several times in a dungeon the game will checkpoint at the last room completed so it is not too punishing.
Each level holds its own devilishly tricky puzzle or challenge to overcome, these come in the form of defeating all enemies in the room,finding levers to open the gate to the next room, or by defeating a boss. These objectives will sometimes be timed to add extra pressure. Taking advantage of the environments in MetaMorph can make the difference between defeat and victory, the dungeon harbours deadly traps, bombs and ledges that can either be a hindrance or a help to the player. There is a lot of satisfaction in luring a large group of skeletons in front of a buzz saw trap and watching as 20-30 of them are immediately turned to dust. On completing a dungeon the player will be awarded with a star rating, this depends on the time completed and a goblin that once found can be rescued. Often the Goblins will be hidden away in a difficult to reach area or they are strapped to a bomb with a timer, adding that extra difficulty in rescuing them.
I am very excited to see how MetaMorph develops, the current planned schedule is for it to remain in early access for six months. In its current state the game offers a large amount of levels to complete and three very balanced characters to play that complement each other very well.
Keep an eye out on our Twitch channel as we will be livestreaming a play session with MetaMorph’s Community Manager Pascal Heymann. MetaMorph is currently available to play on Steam Early Access.