Metal Gear Solid was a staple in stealth, action, and storytelling in video game culture. It was based on an amalgamation of the best 80’s and 90’s spy, action, and war movies. These cliché genres have influenced all forms of entertainment including video games throughout the years. UnMetal has turned MGS on its head. It’s a comedy parody of everything that made the series ridiculous, all-in old-school NES fashion.
A homage to the early Metal Gear games and parody of 80’s action movies – UnMetal was created by UnEpic_fran who has created other successful Steam titles UnEpic and Ghost 1.0. A gruff voice, check. A stereotypical action character with a manly beard and bandana, check. UnMetal is comedy gold and does well with the retro aesthetic and gameplay.
Meet Jesse Fox, I’m guessing as a play on Foxhound. He found himself captured and imprisoned in a high-security military base for…reasons. Jesse then is rescued by the U.S. to begin explaining his heroic escape off base. Hilarity ensues. The voice acting isn’t the best, but that is entirely part of the charm as the story progresses.
There are one-liners such as “I don’t have time to bleed”, a popular line from “The Predator” for example. Each joke lands well and will usually put a smile on my face but I never really laughed out loud. UnMetal tries hard for the campy cheese, however, the real fun of UnMetal is how the story plays out during your playthrough.
There are so many interactions with enemies and environments that set off hilarious cutscenes and moments. It’s almost as if unepic_fran knew what the player would do to set off an event. You can randomly punch some boxes, and something will occur. Some events will give choices on what even will occur next. You will be surprised by how your options play out. No spoilers but you are capable at some point of running into a room full of 200 sheep for…reasons. You may even run into some “piranha human hybrids” bent on revenge.
Some bosses are also spoofs of Metal Gear games. They can be difficult at first so fast save often with your portable bedpan…yes, a bedpan. Plus, you must empty it out at real save points, which are restrooms. Each boss must be defeated a certain way. Some funny, some difficult, which leaves these encounters a bit unbalance with difficulty spikes, but bearable. The exciting fighting and boss music keeps the fun going regardless. My favorite random moment was when I was in the sewers and Jesse explains what he saw in there. The game allows you to “choose” so I chose rats. A swarm of rats chase after me while I took the form of what they love most…cheese! As I run away, the old Benny Hill chase music comes on. I died laughing…Ok, I did laugh out loud once I guess.
The basics of the game are just that, very basic, simple mechanics. You hide around corners, pop out when the opportunity arises, knock an enemy soldier out with a series of punches. Don’t expect a deep variety of gameplay features aside from the crafting system. It takes a while to get a real weapon, so fisticuffs are used for a good duration of the game. Getting shot will make you bleed. You will have to patch yourself up with rags or medkits whenever found. You can lure some guards away with coins to help your stealthy approaches. Guards apparently love picking up coins. You can search bodies and pick them up to hide them.
Knocking out soldiers without alerting them will earn you some experience points which level you up. Each level gives you a skill/stat to choose from. For example, faster punches to knock out foes quicker, faster movement speed, or faster med-pack. I like the RPG-ish element to this since it motivates you to fight every soldier without getting caught. It’s an extra level of difficulty that is optional, and optional is always good. Eventually, when you do get a gun, use it wisely because the game will penalize you for killing. I won’t say how but let’s just say it will change what some people will think of you.
Even more Metal Gear influence, there is a CODEC system that allows you to call certain characters you meet. Can you trust them all? Call them often for some character development and some funny moments. You will meet them through many environments you explore. Throughout those environments, there is lots of loot to find. Glass eyeballs, bottles, batteries and so much more.
Use those items and figure out how to craft weapons and key items to progress and dispose of your enemies. I found myself playing around with a lot of combinations to see what works. Some combinations will not work well for you. I mixed some chemicals together once and ended up exploding…won’t do that again. I did combine a bottle with a rag and gasoline which makes a Molotov. These option items can save you in a pinch.
UnMetal is only $20 on most consoles and PC. I highly recommend this game for some pure laughs and fun. This is not a long game, nor does it have a deep existential story about struggle or war. It’s a fun, silly, entertaining, and lighthearted game that doesn’t take anything seriously. Have a good time with its simplicity in a vast ocean of games that are too difficult, too serious, and sometimes too boring. If you don’t have a laugh, at least you got to enjoy what UnMetal has to offer as a video game rather than a parody.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of UnMetal for the PS4 provided by Versus Evil.