At first glance, UnMetal looks like an homage to 2D isometric classic NES game Metal Gear, and its early stealth-based gameplay which would become a staple for the series. While UnMetal is definitely an homage to Metal Gear, it’s much more that that—it’s a strange, tongue-in-cheek game that has some genuinely funny humor.
UnMetal is retro style action stealth game where you play as Jesse Fox, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, he has to use stealth and cunning to escape his captors. Jesse Fox is a gravelly voiced protagonist that fits in the 80s mold, and UnMetal is full of retro game and movie references. In UnMetal, Jesse is actually telling the story after the fact, and as an unreliable narrator certain details are omitted, and others change based on Jesse’s spotty memory. The story is almost narrated, since it’s being told in an extremely detailed debriefing, and that helps add humor over action gameplay as Jesse’s interrogators react incredulously to impossible or absurd details.
UnMetal is almost as much of an adventure game as it is an action game. While you have to take out enemies using stealth, you also have to find items, combine them to make new items, and complete tasks for characters you’ll meet along the way. There are obstacles that require items to bypass, and these sometimes even employ a bit of moon logic usually found in point and click adventures, as progressing sometimes requires using inventory items in unexpected or humorous ways.
I really wasn’t expecting UnMetal to be as amusing as it is, while it also manages to be a pretty good action game—and even a pretty good adventure game. Its humor doesn’t always hit home, but its absurdity and earnest delivery by its gravel-voiced protagonist makes it effective.
UnMetal will be available later this year but you can wishlist it on Steam now (or play the demo).
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