Introducing: Metallic Child Review
Somewhere, hundreds of miles above Earth’s Surface, there is a lone android, injured, confused, alone, and struggling to hold on long enough to save not only herself but the Earth, too. This android wakes up in a daze on a satellite that is heading to Earth at blinding speeds after a robo-revolution killed several scientists and turned every other robot on the vessel into something wicked and evil. This lone android must pick itself up, put its arms back in their sockets, and fight its way out of this situation if it’s going to save the research, the satellite, and…you!?
Whether You Like It or Not
On a regular day in your regular life, you pick up your Switch, turn on your computer screen, and boot up your favorite game access application, or turn on your TV and boot up your Sony System only this time it’s different. You’re not playing the game you intended, instead your screen shows an injured robot, a robot girl from the looks of it. She’s in trouble and calling for help! Not only that, you can HEAR her calling for help, and can RESPOND to tell her that you CAN help! From your apparatus, being it controller or keyboard, you initiate the emergency repair system for this injured android. Unfortunately, full repairs are unavailable and only her exterior shell can be repaired. She offers to relinquish control of her body to you and thus your bond, like the adventure ahead, begins.
In Metallic Child, you’ll take on the role of Rona, an android model of the Metallic Children which were intended to help scientists in this satellite laboratory called the Life Stream that Rona must protect! While you play through the game, you’ll also regain Rona’s memories and attempt to figure out how the Robot Revolution that injured her started, what the heck happened to the Satellite to knock it out of orbit, and what drove her mother/creator to forgo her duties and throw the station at Earth.
The story itself is rather by-the-books with very few twists and turns. There are so few characters in this game you can immediately guess which character fits into which archetype upon meeting them for the first time. Also each boss you fight is a different Metallic Child model with a funny name who will banter with Rona before their big fight. They’re one-off boss types who never really needed speaking lines and would be better left silent, even if they only speak to establish their already established bond with Rona.
Grab & Throw
Gameplay of Metallic Child is focused on combo-based combat you’ll use to take down enemies in different lock-in gauntlet type rooms of 4-8 robo-baddies. You have 3 weapons with several different looks with different abilities that will help you do this. This is where the game really shines and could have expanded further upon. Combat is rather fluid and fun even if it is repetitive, which is why there is a grab mechanic. Pressing X will make Rona slowly dash forward a short distance and grab an enemy, you can then aim in any direction and throw that enemy into a wall, into a lava pit, against another enemy, or just away from you. It’s a powerful, yet risky, move that really helps you get through some of the tougher battles. There’s also this power up Rona can achieve called Core-connect which powers up all of her abilities.
After a battle completes, Rona will give you a grade depending on how fast you fought and how much damage you took. Combo count is really only used for achievements. After receiving a grade, a supply crate will drop down and pop open with pickups like chips and discs. Disks are a temporary currency used during this run until the boss of the run you chose, and Chips are a permanent currency used for upgrades to Rona.
One of the biggest surprises to the combat was the addition of a Stamina Bar, or Energy Bar. This will only deplete if you use your weapon’s specific skill attack [A], Dodge, change weapons mid battle, dodge, guard, or grab. While this reviewer is not a fan of any stamina bar ever, I found this one to be out of the way. I only ever needed more energy during boss battles when dodging was a must, otherwise, it is a relatively out-of-the way mechanic that you’ll fill with regular combos and standing there, sucking your thumb.
Layers of Combat
The first, and most important layer of combat is the weapon you choose. There are 3 types in Hammers, Fists, and Swords, all with very similar movements and controls. The only real difference is the fact you can dodge while holding a Hammer or using Fists, but this is replaced with a Guard when using a Sword. Also, If you press the guard button at the perfect time with a Sword, you’ll pull a Just-guard which allows for quick follow-up attacks. It’s a polished system that allows you to play the way you feel like even with the different types of these weapons you find throughout the game, if only because they’ll only offer slight buffs and a different skill attack and otherwise remain the same weapon.
Another important layer to the combat is Cores. Treasure Chests and enemies will sometimes drop these round things, these are the cores. Upon consuming one, Rona will gain a temporary buff or debuff at random, and depending on the color of the Core. If a core is a debuff, or ‘bugged’ it will slow Rona down, cause the screen to lower in resolution, and more negative effects that make whatever gaming apparatus you’re playing on feel like an actual camera following the adventure instead of a camera that exists outside of reality to watch everything. If a core is a buff, Rona will receive a temporary power up such as higher attack, ability to grab bigger enemies, and more. There are also upgrade pillars that will allow her to even power up these cores and remove the bugged ones too.
Even further beyond that are Super Cores! Upon defeating enemies and opening chests, this strange, formless mass will appear. This is SUPER CORE energy, or if it is red, Bugged Super Core Energy. Super Core Energy will fill this meter on the bottom left a certain amount, up to 10 full bars. Every filled bar affords Rona a SUPER CORE installment which is a permanent upgrade to her abilities during this run of whatever level you’ve picked that will take effect immediately and only disappear after you die or clear the final boss of that area. These sometimes cost Bugged Core Data and to obtain this, you can either collect Bugged Core energy or willingly consume Bugged Cores. Of course, there are differing colors of Super Cores as well to indicate their rarity and the strength of the power up.
Metallic Child is well put together in the combat department with a story that’s engaging enough but there are some parts of this game that need a major rework.
One of these areas requiring a patch is the upgrade-based currency, or Chips. Chips will afford Rona upgrades form the Hub area such as more HP, faster recharge of the Energy Meter, and different outfits which will strengthen other parts of Rona’s loadout. Chips feel like they are in extremely short supply in this game. You can end up with over 1000 unused Disks at the end of each run, but only get upwards of about 100 Chips while most upgrades, after level 1 can cost over 300. Not to mention the outfits, which are 450 and higher. While this encourages even FURTHER replay of each level, and further adhesion to the achievements which give larger amounts of Chips, it never feels like there are enough. To fix this, I would suggest being able to exchange your Disks for Chips at the end of each run, perhaps a 10 to 1 exchange rate. This would really help us get the 1000 Chip reference costumes with cool weapons.
The other improvement is the fact this game is incomplete. The Switch version, at least. You see, when in the Server room, there are different terminals that will allow you to see your achievements, view previously learned info about Metallic Child such as controls, and more. But there are 3 terminals here that are straight up left out of this version of the game. The Fan Art, Recovery, and Record-D terminals. These don’t work and/or are empty because they haven’t yet been added into the game. They’re in the steam version, but the Switch version lacks them, which is a huge disappointment. This reviewer would have been fine waiting a bit longer for the game to release if it meant I got to see more of the backstory behind the events of this game, but even after they add this stuff in a later patch, I can’t see myself going back to get a deeper meaning about a game I already beat.
Metallic Child, at its core, is a fine game. With combat that was finely tuned with different weapons, skills, and the awesome grab mechanic, and a story that was just interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. Unfortunately it is plagued by characters that have very little importance beyond ‘big boss,’ Chips being so few in amount, and the straight up missing content. While this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed kicking robot ass, what it offers otherwise for the price it’s at just doesn’t make this a worthwhile purchase unless you’re a hardcore fan of Studio HG’s games, android children, or robot combat.
- Robot combat
- Variety of weapons
- Wealth of playstyles
- Reference costumes are fun
- Robot combat again
- Animations are well done
- The robot combat a third and final time
- Environments are too same-y
- Gameplay is repetitive
- Reference costumes cost too much
- Chips are in short supply
- Missing content still not added upon release of this review
- Story not very engaging