Another week, another twin stick shooter moves into view above the horizon, and this time it is a futuristic, robot based twin sticker that is on the table.
Going by the name of Metal Mind from WHIRLLAXY LIMITED (yes, it appears all caps is right!) and E-Home Entertainment, this game tries to address one of the most pressing of today’s issues – what happens when AI becomes sentient? And more importantly, once they have free will, can we then take it away from them again?
Weighty issues indeed, and it is good to see that they are resolved in the traditional ways – namely by shooting stuff until you get your own way! So, let’s go to some future time and see what is happening, shall we?
I seem to have given a synopsis of the plot in the introductory paragraph, but there is more to know before we set out on our mission. In Metal Mind we play as an awakened robot, and AWC, a group of politicians, scientists, engineers and secret agents (gotta have them in any good shadowy organisation), have decided that robots with free will are a bad idea. They have begun to round up awakened robots all over the world to reprogram and enslave them, and clearly we think this is a bad idea. What plays out from there is a one robot mission of resistance in an attempt to free our metal brethren! Of course, this is how you get Skynet, but we’ll gloss over that…
Presentation of the game is pretty standard, to be honest, the action viewed from a top-down perspective, as is somewhat typical. The graphics are again pretty retro in design, with an almost pixel art design to our robot and the various enemies we encounter; from the tiny, run of the mill baddies right up to the bosses, who are a lot bigger and much more trouble!
The levels are split into entirely separate rooms, much like in the classic Enter the Gungeon, with various rooms having different exits leading to more rooms and so on. Exploring is definitely worth doing, let’s put it that way! Every room has a different layout, and with multiple things like conveyor belts and exploding barrels to take note of, making sure you are aware of what is going on around you is a must.
The sound is well done too, with the expected gun noises and explosions counterpointed nicely by a rock soundtrack, which matches the action nicely. All in all, Metal Mind is a game without any major issues in the presentation department – no slowdown, no stuttering, just lots of action.
The basics of the game are the same as any other twin stick shooter – you move your little robot dude with the left stick, then aim with the right. The robot we play has a “weapon spin” chassis apparently, and this means that running in one direction while shooting in another is not only possible, but downright necessary!
However, there is also a mechanic in Metal Mind that isn’t too common, although it certainly isn’t unique – that is the weapon heat gauge. Firing your gun non-stop will cause the heat gauge to rise, and when full, the weapon will stop firing until it cools down. As you can imagine, in the middle of a fraught boss encounter, this can be fatal. Luckily you can vent excess heat by holding down the X button. Swapping to your secondary weapon will also work, just try not to overheat that as well, as harsh language doesn’t do much…
Now, as you’d expect, there is a whole load of different loot to grab on each run, and in a roguelite fashion, there are also permanent upgrades that can be unlocked, should you be able to collect enough of the in-game currency. As you go through each level, successfully killing all the enemies in a room will award you with some chests to be looted. These usually contain money, but there are bigger chests that come along every now and then, filled with either new weapons or upgrade bits for the chassis you are currently running around in.
You can equip a maximum of two weapons, along with a missile launcher, whilst the chassis of your little bot can have the body, core and actuator replaced with new parts to improve the efficiency of the robot. These have various effects, such as improved weapon cooling, power and dash type, along with the obvious increase in firepower that comes with new weapons. Be aware though, that not all parts are an upgrade, so examining what you are going to equip before blindly doing so is recommended.
And so we reach a conclusion and that found covering Metal Mind is very much a positive one. The blasting action on offer in Metal Mind is fast and furious, while the random nature of the power ups you find makes getting a decent build feel more luck than judgement. But use that creation to go taking enemies apart and you’ll be hit with a good feeling.
There’s a ton of depth on offer here too and so you should look forward to diving deep into the world of Metal Mind.