Metal Tales: Overkill – Review
Follow Genre: Top down shooter, roguelike
Developer: Zerouno Games
Publisher: Zerouno Games
Platform: Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Tested on: PC

Metal Tales: Overkill – Review

Site Score
Good: Killer metal soundtrack
Bad: Unsatisfying and unbalanced gameplay
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)

After a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2020, the video game Metalocalypse is finally upon us: Zerouno Games have launched their metal-themed top-down shooter Metal Tales: Overkill on a variety of platforms! Featuring a curated selection of songs from real-life metal bands and comic book aesthetics, is this the game that metalheads always dreamed of, or are they better off sticking with Gal Metal?


The entirety of Metal Tales: Overkill’s plot is delivered in the game’s opening scene, which consists of a short comic, narrated by our protagonist. The scene explains how an evil deity transformed the Guitar Gods into monsters. Subsequently, the possessed Guitar Gods spread their evil influence at metal concerts, turning their metalhead fans into mindless zombies. It’s up to our nameless hero -who we assume is the last unpossessed Guitar God, though this is never explicitly stated- to use the power of metal to save his former friends and bandmates… or die trying.


Zerouno Games have absolutely nailed the visual aesthetic of metal, with Metal Tales: Overkill embracing an art style similar to what’s often seen in band logos, album covers, and promotional material. In this regard, Metal Tales: Overkill is a visual joy. The character and enemy designs look fantastic with a special mention for the Guitar Gods themselves. The in-game character models capture the spirit of the artwork seen in menus and in the opening scene, albeit a bit more simplified. The game’s excellent use of lighting effects really helped to bring the rooms to life and we didn’t notice any visual performance issues during our time with the game. We did feel like things were a bit too zoomed out and too dark when we were actually playing the game. It was still manageable on PC, but we imagine that this will be an issue in the Switch version of the game.


When a game is built around a music genre, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of thought was put into the soundscape. Metal Tales: Overkill certainly delivers here, with a soundtrack that -as we mentioned- consists of real tracks from actual metal bands including Striker, Nereis, and Nameless Day Ritual. There is a surprisingly wide variety of bands that licensed their music, and you’re able to listen to the tracks as a bonus feature from the menu as well. The songs existed before Metal Tales: Overkill was released, and they weren’t created specifically for the game, but they complement the atmosphere of course. If you’re just here for the music, then we’ve taken the liberty of tracking down a playlist with every song from the game for your convenience. There is also limited voice acting present in the game, as well as sound effects, and both are serviceable, but unremarkable otherwise.


Full disclosure: Overkill isn’t actually a new game but a re-release of a game we’ve looked at before, titled Metal Tales: Fury of the Guitar Gods. Nuberu Games, the studio behind the game closed its doors and Zerouno Games picked up the rights to the game before taking everything to Kickstarter. We’re not quite sure which changes -if any- were made to the original so we’re looking at Overkill as if it were a standalone release of this top-down twin-stick roguelike shooter.  After picking one of the four playable characters -with two more to unlock- you’ll need to move from room to room at what appears to be a concert venue, clearing every room from enemies. These rooms are randomly generated but make sense within the setting, as you’ll be visiting typical places like the backstage, merch stand, and bar. Of course, it’s not just enemies that are waiting for you but loot as well, so it’s always a good idea to also deal with any destructible objects as there may be helpful items hiding inside. When a room is cleared, the door to the next room unlocks, until you arrive at the boss room where a possessed Guitar God awaits you. Defeat said God and you can move on to your next concert. The randomly generated nature of the venues ensures that no two runs are the same, and with six characters, each with different stats, and a whole slew of upgrades and items at your disposal, the game should provide metalheads with hours of entertainment.

The overall gameplay setup may sound promising, but unfortunately, Metal Tales: Overkill falls flat on its face when it comes to execution. Our main issue with the gameplay was that everything felt unbalanced, and depending on which items dropped during a run, the game was either ridiculously easy or needlessly frustrating. You can spend points to upgrade the number of items that you will find on subsequent runs but earning enough points to do this requires a ridiculous amount of playthroughs, and it frankly didn’t seem worth it. You just need to hope that you get lucky enough to find an item that allows you to simply breeze through a playthrough, but this takes away not just the challenge aspect of the game but also a lot of the fun. There exists an item, for example, that allows you to one-shot every enemy, including bosses, and if you’re lucky enough to get this, you can play through the entirety of Metal Tales: Overkill in roughly fifteen minutes.

If item balance was Metal Tales: Overkill’s only real issue, we’d recommend you to wait for Zerouno Games to address this via an update: lower the points costs for upgrades, change the item drop rates and the effectiveness of certain items, and a majority of the issues we had with the gameplay would be gone. Unfortunately, the remainder of the gameplay felt unsatisfying because it didn’t require any thinking. You simply need to brute force your way through the game by blasting everything in sight. But wait, I hear you say, isn’t that the point of top-down shooters in the first place? It certainly is, but other games in the genre at least put some thought into the enemy variety and their attack patterns. This isn’t the case in Metal Tales: Overkill, which hopes to draw you in with aesthetics and a killer soundtrack but then fails to deliver a satisfying and meaningful gameplay loop. Even the boss fights require no strategy. You’ll simply need to take them down as quickly as possible by getting as many shots in as you can before they retaliate. You can’t avoid any of their attacks so taking them down also depends on brute-forcing your way through -which is where the item balance comes into play again. The result will leave most players feeling utterly unsatisfied as the outcome of the boss fights feels cheap.


Metal Tales: Overkill relies on its music and visuals to draw in a crowd, and we have to admit that the game certainly delivers on this front. Unfortunately, the gameplay itself doesn’t live up to what the top-down shooter has to offer, unless you want to get stuck in a repetitive grind that relies on cheap shots and brute-forcing your way through instead of your tactical abilities. We suggest you stick to the playlist instead of buying this game.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Metal Tales: Overkill - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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