If there’s one type of game that we don’t see very often, I would say that it would have to be the parody game. These pay homage to existing games while exaggerating some situations for comic effect or by creating new ones that are loaded with humour. Developed by UnEpic Fran and published by Versus Evil, UnMetal is the latest addition to the library of parody games. It’s a spoof of classic stealth/action games such as Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear and the result is actually hilarious while also being an enjoyable game overall.
The game takes place in 1972 with you assuming the role of Jesse Fox, a civilian who is thrown into prison by a crack commando squad for a crime that he didn’t commit. Your goal is to help him escape from the enemy military base where he’s being held, but of course, that is easier said than done.
One of the best parts of UnMetal is its writing. Playing as Jesse, he’ll recount the series of events to a number of people, however, his account of his daring escape becomes increasingly bizarre as he continues to tell his story. This is done to great effect as the humour is peppered into each scenario thanks to Jesse being a bit of an unreliable storyteller. Scenarios change usually because they are made up to seem bigger than they are or simply as an excuse for him to have handled a situation a certain way. One instance saw a boss develop more tentacles mid-fight while another saw a ditch miraculously appearing between him and a boss before the fight started. Some players might find the humour a little hit or miss, but personally, I laughed loudly more than once during my playthrough.
Another cool thing about the narrative is how it plays out like a Choose-Your-Adventure book where you’re given choices about how the story plays out. At certain points during Jesse’s retelling, the game will throw multiple options for you to choose from. These don’t result in big changes to how the story will continue, however, there’s usually an almost immediate humorous outcome.
When it comes to the gameplay, UnMetal takes place from a 2D perspective with a focus on both stealth and action. Just like Metal Gear, the game that UnMetal pays homage to, Jesse has access to a repertoire of moves including dodge-rolling, a melee combo, and flattening himself against a surface. Additionally, he’s able to collect an assortment of different items, some of which can be combined to create new ones. There are a lot of items that can be collected though, which adds up pretty quickly and can feel like a chore to navigate your inventory when it gets to that point.
Sneaking around and knocking guards out is equally important as the items though, since playing stealthily can be quite rewarding. It’s a little more challenging, but successfully knocking out guards without alerting them to your presence rewards you with XP, which in turn helps Jesse gain a level. Levelling up provides you with a choice between two abilities, which can make your life a little easier when taking on later chapters.
UnMetal isn’t incredibly difficult, but the bosses do provide a suitable challenge when you reach one. They hit pretty hard and are able to kill you rather quickly but once you discover the method to take them down, it’s pretty much just a matter of putting your plan into action. It’s likely that you’ll die fairly often during these fights, but there are a number of save points throughout the game, so it never feels like a major setback
Visually UnMetal’s pixel art looks great and the cutscenes have been pretty well done. It looks like a game that would look at home on an older console like the NES but is significantly more polished. It also runs rather smoothly on the Switch, both in docked and handheld mode. The audio is also quite fantastic. The music is quite subtle while sneaking around but if you’re spotted, the pace picks up to deliver a pretty thrilling experience. The voice acting is also particularly good. Each character does a great job at portraying their respective characters but special props have to be given to Andrew Miller for his portrayal of the gravelly-voiced Jesse Fox. Not just for the storytelling, but also for nailing the delivery of the jokes.
UnMetal is fantastic. It pays homage to classic games such as Metal Gear while doing an excellent job of delivering a bitingly humorous experience. However, while I found the humour quite hilarious, another player might find it a little hit or miss. I found the gameplay to be pleasantly surprising as it doesn’t get overshadowed by the game’s focus on landing jokes. The stealth is also quite competent. The inventory system and the managing thereof is a bit of a chore though, thanks to the number of items you’ll pick up during your playthrough. Despite this, UnMetal is a solid game that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for a hilarious old school stealth/action game, UnMetal might be right up your alley.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, MORE
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch platform
Enjoy the review? want to read more of our reviews? then click right here to be whisked away to the realm of our opinions.