There are games made for a lot of different types of people out there. Elder Scrolls for the completionists, Telltale games for story lovers, and Grand Theft Auto for pre-teens with parents who think the age ratings are merely suggestions, just to name a few. But I can’t recall any game made for the explicit purpose of promoting heavy metal bands. So please welcome to the stage, Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods.
Metal Tales is a room clearing type action shooter where the player has to save brainwashed metal-heads from the evil Gods of Metal. You do this by blasting them with sound, or whatever it is that spews out from your guitar. Truth be told I’m not quite sure what it is that you are actually doing with the lack of tutorial the game provides. But I’ll get to that later.
The majority of Metal Tales seems to be band promotion. As a fan of metal music I didn’t really mind too much. I actually expanded my playlist thanks to this game. However, that praise is kind of a moot point given the fact that I wanted to… I don’t know… PLAY A GAME. If I wanted to look up music I would look up music. I spent most of the gameplay browsing the soundtrack which was very nicely laid out with the song titles and band names. There are even links to the band’s websites in the extras section.
The gameplay wasn’t anything groundbreaking. You have an bird’s-eye perspective on your chosen character as you move from room to room destroying beer bottles, saving metal fans, collecting money for the jukebox and shop and solving trap rooms. I don’t know if this is common or not, but I do like a certain mechanic within the game that regenerates the level upon death, which made coming back not so frustrating as every respawn was a whole new adventure. All this leading up to the level clearing boss fight, all the while attempting to upgrade your states and buy better gear. I say attempting purposefully because I really have no idea what I was supposed to be doing, or if I was doing it right in the first place. This brings me to the lack of tutorial I mentioned earlier.
Now, I hate tutorials as much as the next gamer. They’re boring, repetitive, most of them are insanely time consuming and rarely give you the info you’re looking for. Yet when you need them, they are invaluable. I went through nearly a dozen retries before I figured out there was no way to regain health, or maybe there is and I haven't figured it out yet. I still have no clue how to purchase items from the shop. To top it off I spent as much time figuring out how to navigate the levels as I did looking up the bands.
The amount of promotional aspects throughout the game was laughable. From the collectible coins that allowed you to switch songs on the jukebox; To the bands watermark on the screen when their song is played. The band themed boss fights in particular were my favorite. As I was playing them I could almost see the meeting the developers had with the band's members, as they try to explain that “more badass” isn’t an appropriate form of creative criticism.
Metal Tales as a whole was not all bad. The gameplay was simple yet challenging. The music was heavy, loud and head bangingly good. The different randomly generated levels made even made coming back after death not as boring as it could have been. And there there was enough upgrades to keep you wondering how many ways there is to blast metal heads in the face. I imagine the co-op mode would provide a fun night of entertainment with your long haired, leather wearing friends.
Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Good fun to rock out while shooting your way through the levels, as long as you see past all the product placement.