I’ve always found there to be something inherently cringe-worthy about something that calls itself ‘metal’ in, just for the sake of it. It’s kind of like that guy that goes on about how metal he is, without actually being very metal. Show, don’t tell.
This isn’t one of those times.
Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods is a reasonably enjoyable, fast-paced Dungeon crawler, with a quirky art style and a kick-ass soundtrack. It’s very heavily inspired by games such as Brutal Legend and Guitar Hero, those staple, metal themed video games. It’s also obviously quite influenced by indie classic The Binding of Isaac, but instead of crying on your enemies, you’re shooting lasers at them, out of a headstock.
The story is sweet and simple: all of the world’s ‘Guitar Gods’ have been turned into monsters and, ergo, all of the metalheads in the world have become zombie-like husks. Your job is to shoot the fuck out of everyone, kill the monsters, and save heavy metal for all mankind. Sounds good, right?
Equipped with your trusty axe (which you can upgrade as you progress throughout the game), you must battle your way through a series of procedurally-generated rooms, filled with angry metal fans. After you’ve defeated everything in the room, a door will open to the next area. The cool thing about Metal Tales is that each play-through is different because the areas are generated at random.
There’s an occasional time trial room, a trap room that offers a cool reward if you beat it, and of course, the boss rooms. The bosses are tough as fuck, so make sure you’ve grabbed yourself some upgrades before going for them. Metal Tales has three different stages: Metal Den, Metal Festival, and Hell itself, and they’re all hard as nails. However, there’s a cool feature that allows you to summon your bandmates if you find yourself in serious trouble.
Every time you complete a mission, you gain a bit of ‘Metallium’, which can be spent on upgrading your character. Life upgrades, power slides, and better drops in-game are all available to buy. Much like the levels, the rewards and upgrades are randomly generated, so it pays to upgrade your character. The game can be particularly unforgiving, so you could end up finding absolutely nothing on a play through.
Fury of the Guitar Gods also features a kickass roster of bands; I found myself stopping in rooms to just listen to the soundtrack. The game features killer tracks from international metal bands such as Despite, A Breach of Silence, Perseforce, Legacy of Brutality and Striker. It’s a pretty cool idea to chuck tracks by real bands into a video game – like TR Games did with Roadkill and Stage Surfers – it opens stubborn people like me up to awesome new bands I might not have discovered otherwise!
Overall, I had fun with Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods. It’s a light-hearted, consistently fun roguelike shooter, which can be easily picked up and put down. The aesthetics are great, the soundtrack is cracking, and I’d definitely recommend grabbing it. It even has a co-op option, so you and your buddy can snatch up your six strings and save heavy metal together.
Metal Tales’ Fury of the Guitar Gods, drops on Steam, on November 18th