Metaloid : Origin is a neat little indie game that seems to be off the radar for most. That’s rather unfortunate, as the game not only has some cool gameplay and level design, but a very nice aesthetic to match. Of course, it doesn’t come without some issues, but it’s still definitely worth a look.
Fast-paced and fun gameplay. If I had to describe the gameplay of Metaloid : Origin, I would have to say that its somewhere between Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. It maintains the fast-paced nature of the former (at least to a certain degree), while also providing the fun shooter action of the latter. The result is a very cool experience, one full of diverse enemies, cool boss fights, and plenty of interesting weapons and abilities to try out. The game even throws vehicle levels at you, shaking up the gameplay just enough to keep the experience going. Although the game does have a rather short runtime (at just around three hours), there’s a bit of replayability in the fact that you can go back and complete the game again using entirely different characters, each with their own unique weapons and abilities.
Cool level design. The level design here in Metaloid : Origin reminded me a lot of the 2D Sonic games. You can just keep moving forward and try to complete the level as fast as possible (especially given the speed of the gameplay here), but there’s more to each level than just that. A lot of the game’s levels have a vertical element to them, hiding secrets and other cool unlocks that you have to actually go searching for. In fact, this is how you unlock character perks, with one hidden somewhere in each level. You certainly can progress without these perks, but there’s a lot to be gained from finding them. I grew to appreciate this level design, as it not only fits the fast-paced gameplay, but also provides a bit more for players that want to explore.
Vibrant aesthetic. Visually, Metaloid : Origin has a lot going for it. The environments, enemies, and backgrounds are all very vibrantly colored, giving the game a rather glowing aesthetic. It manages to do this without going too over the top, providing just enough distinction between enemies and the background. On top of that, the game also has a great soundtrack going for it, reminiscent of the older Sonic games. These two elements combined make for a very cool aesthetic, one that definitely deserves some praise.
Technical and design issues. Unfortunately, Metaloid : Origin has quite a few technical and design issues to it, of which I will discuss a few. The first being the incredibly stiff controls when climbing ladders or clinging to walls. When doing so, you have to keep your hand off of the control stick once you’re ready to jump off, otherwise you risk just sliding right off. This does not feel intuitive at all and resulted in quite a few deaths on my part. Normally, I would expect a ladder to lock me into place until I press a button to jump instead of letting the slightest slip of the control stick send me tumbling off.
My next complaint would have to be the inability to toggle perks on and off. This is only a problem because, on the character I played, I unlocked a perk that allowed me to dash through the air and rebound off of obstacles. However, this got me killed more times than it helped me, especially given its seemingly unpredictable nature. For example, I would try to dash to a wall that I needed to climb up, only for it to bounce me back to where I was, forcing me to repeat the action until I found that sweet spot. It was frustrating to deal with and the ability to toggle perks here would have been very helpful to have.
Another issue being the game’s awkward controls when driving vehicles. When using an Xbox controller, the button to shoot is X and the button to jump is A. These controls feel fine when moving around normally, but when it comes to vehicles, they just feel clunky. This is because you’re moving so fast that you want to constantly be shooting to clear obstacles ahead of you, but you also want to keep that finger free to press jump. Given this, I had to keep my thumb in an awkward, uncomfortable position in order to utilize both buttons. If the game actually let me bind actions to more than just one button, then this would not be a problem, but unfortunately, you’re currently unable to do so.
Aside from those issues, I did run into a reproducible bug where a moving platform would teleport me out of the level, but that seemed to be isolated to just one area, so that should be a rather easy fix. Overall though, these numerous issues do put a strain on the experience, so hopefully we can see some patches to smooth things out.
Numerous spelling and grammar issues. Metaloid : Origin has a number of issues with its English dialogue. Be it typos, misplaced punctuation, or just questionable sentence structure — it’s pretty much all there. In fact, the very first tutorial popup that appears in the game has a couple of these issues. What confuses me is that English appears to be the game’s primary language, with the other option being Italian. As such, I don’t know if the issue is just a poor translation, or if English is just not the developer’s primary language. Whatever the case may be, the English could definitely use a bit of brushing up.
Nasty anti-aliasing. When it comes to graphical settings, the game does the bare minimum, providing just enough to satisfy most. What it also does is provide an anti-aliasing option, which, when enabled, slaps a filter over the game’s pixel art in an attempt to round everything out. Unfortunately, it does a terrible job at this, completely destroying the game’s great art and making everything incredibly blurry, even the text. I’ve played emulators that do a far better job at applying this filter, so I really don’t know what went wrong here. Granted, this option can be toggled off, but it makes me wonder why such cheap anti-aliasing was even included in the first place.
There’s a lot to like here in Metaloid : Origin. The game does a great job blending its fast-paced gameplay with its cool level design, all while maintaining a vibrant aesthetic. Even so, the numerous technical and design issues do bring down the experience, but these are hopefully some issues we can see patched in the near future. Regardless, the game is definitely a worthwhile play and does earn my recommendation.
You can buy Metaloid : Origin on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.