Game Title: Metagal
Company: RetroRevolution, Ratalaika Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4 – 7 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 55 MB

Mega Man has a simple formula, but one I really like. I especially enjoyed the GBA era of games, which added a good bit of detail and had a lot of fun games, particular when the Mega Man Zero series was made.

That’s what made me pursue the game we’re talking about today. A game that gains a lot of inspiration and gameplay elements from the GBA Mega Man games but not part of that series, here is my review of Metagal for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

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This story revolves around a group of Androids created by Dr. Ray. When a villain attacks their base, all of the “Gals” are abducted along with Dr. Ray with the intention of being used for global domination. Later on, an Android named Meta arrives at the scenes and finds out about her sisters being abducted and ventures off to rescue them.

The story of this game is pretty interesting, though not until you get to the end of the game. It sets itself up pretty decently, though there is a surprising amount of story dropped after the Final Boss. It is honestly more than I was expecting, considering what games this is replicating.

Gameplay

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Metagal is a 2D side-scroller with platforming and combat elements thrown into the mix. In each stage, you’ll be running across side-scrolling levels and fighting enemies until you reach a boss. in other words, this uses the typical Mega Man formula.

Progression is as you’d expect. Once you start the game and complete the tutorial level, you get a Level Select screen, where you can choose from any of the 4 starting bosses to choose from and navigate their level and move onto the next one. This is fairly simple compared to most Mega Man games, as the game has a total of 4 “main” bosses and 8 stages total, whereas many MM games have 8 boss stages and then the final stages leading up to the Final Boss.

The rest of this is very typical of the Mega Man formula. Each boss gives you a new power to use, you can replay stages, each early stage has an upgrade in a hidden area for you to find, and every boss has an elemental/weapon weakness to make them easier to take down, especially once you get to the “Boss Rush” at the end of the game.

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But that doesn’t mean this game isn’t unique, or at least doesn’t have some unique gameplay systems. This is mostly down to how Special Weapons work here, playable characters, and the game’s difficulty.

First off, you have some unique special weapons here, including a healing item letting you heal yourself several times in each level. The Specials also don’t have finite ammo. When you use one, the energy recharges over 3-5 seconds, so you can keep using them over and over throughout the stages. This is put into the level design as well, as many areas have gaps only traversible by using the “Flame Dash” weapon you get from the Fire-element boss.

Second, the game’s difficulty. This game definitely has that NES feel to it when it comes to platforming. There are many sections built to be very difficult, from technical jumps on temporary platforms to running through areas to avoid a flame wall that will instantly kill you. Thankfully, the game has a great Continue system where you can inifinitely respawn at checkpoints and use obtainable “Rebirth” items to revive from the room you died in.

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Finally, let’s talk characters. While the original version of this game on Steam only had 1 playable character at launch, this game has 5. Once you complete the game, you gain the ability to replay the game as any of the 4 bosses you encounter throughout the game. While these characters don’t have story attached to them, they have very unique movesets that Meta doesn’t get, along with the ability to fight Meta as a boss in their own stage.

Speaking on post-game content, this game is a bit longer than I expected it to be. My first trek through the game’s 8 stages took around 3 hours, longer than the 1-2 hours I was expecting. Adding the 4 other characters to this would add even more time. But, considering this game costs a measly $4.99, it easily has enough content to warrant that price point.

Controls

As you’d expect, this is a pretty easy game to control. No motion controls are here, nor are there touch screen controls for handheld mode.

Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick or the Arrow Buttons / D-Pad. The L and R triggers are used for swapping special weapons and the ZL/ZR buttons don’t do anything. Then we have the face buttons. A is used for launching attacks and Y for normal attacks. B is used for jumping and X is used for dashing.

The main issue I have with this is the fact that X is used for dashing and the controls cannot be remapped. I’m used to A/Circle for dashing in these sorts of games and the ability to remap them to be able to dash with a trigger button. It didn’t take long to adjust, but it was a bit disappointing that you couldn’t remap, especially since a few of the Switch’s buttons aren’t used in the game.

Presentation

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Graphically, the game looks very much like the GBA Mega Man Zero games. The renders do have occasional small blemishes to them, but overall, it looks nice for what it’s trying to replicate. At least, until you start moving. When you’re moving/running, the game looks fine, but everything blurs pretty hard as soon as you move.

In terms of performance, I have no complaints. Frame rate doesn’t drop, and the game doesn’t crash.

Battery Life

When it comes to Battery Life, I was expecting a ton with how this game looks. Here’s what we got:

Max Brightness + Wi-FI – 4 hours, 46 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 00 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 45 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 57 minutes

As expected, a ton of Battery Life. You could easily get 1 or 2 runs of the game done on one charge if you’ve played it before.

In conclusion, Metagal is a fun platformer that takes a lot from Mega Man and changed just enough to maintain that feel but not just feel like the same Mega Man reskinned as a girl. On the downside, the blur during movement and lack of control remapping are a bummer, but with 3+ hours of content for only 5 bucks, there’s no reason for any Mega Fan to not grab this game.

Final Score: 9/10