UnMetal is a difficult game to write a review for. Part of the charm lies in all of the surprises it throws your way, so anything I say is likely to lessen the overall experience for you. I will remain as spoiler free as possible, but if you like the look of the screenshots then just buy it.

Trust me.

UnMetal is one of the best games I’ve played this year.

The story kicks off with Jesse Fox, who gets shot down over Allied territory while flying a heavily armed Soviet Helicopter. After finding himself interrogated by the US military, who suspect him to be a spy, Jesse needs to recount the series of events that led to him piloting an enemy chopper. His story starts off with him getting imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and subsequently making an unlikely escape from the military base he is being held in. He’s not alone in his escape, however, as there are numerous other characters he will meet along the way who will lend him a hand – usually over videophone calls. Our main guy is a little bit of an egoist, however, and portrays himself as some MacGyver-esque hero that would never kill anyone: a fact that makes you question his version of events as the story progresses. The story can get a bit outlandish at times, purposefully so, but it all ties together well and ends in an extremely satisfying manner.

You may have noticed already, from the screenshots and the name, that the game bears more than a passing resemblance to the original Metal Gear games. UnMetal isn’t so much ripping off these titles, as it is parodying them. None of this is done out of mockery though, as the developer clearly has a love for the source material. Think of the game as the Naked Gun or Airplane of videogames: the jokes come thick and fast, and are mainly based on the tropes of the genre. Thankfully the vast majority of them hit, and make the game truly entertaining: I was left with a smile on my face the whole time I was playing. As you can imagine, the constant jokes makes the game very dialogue heavy, but it doesn’t feel bogged down by it all. In fact, you’ll be actively waiting for the next twist in the story to come along. It’s not all passive either: the game frequently keeps you involved along the way by getting you to make the choices. Is the enemy base filled with Scandinavians, or Exterminators? How many tentacles does that garbage monster have? Decide what you think you be best, but be careful since some may end up making things trickier than you may initially expect. These options are always a lot of fun and help add replayability, as you’ll want to play through the game at least one more to see how the alternatives play out. 


The humour may be spot on, but parody games tend to have the same basic problem: the gameplay sucks. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard on the 360 poked fun at a variety of action games, but at the end of the day it ended up being a pretty generic shooter. Heck, even Bubsy was intended to be a parody on the platforming genre, and we all know how well that game plays. UnMetal runs the risk of being merely derivative, and providing only an average experience compared to the well-regarded originals – thankfully, it avoids that trap and creates an experience so fun that it’d still be an excellent game even if you took out all of the jokes.

In essence, UnMetal is a relatively straightforward stealth game. Using a top down perspective, you move between screens and take down dumb guards before they know you’re there. There’s a rudimentary cover system that will help you pick off patrolling guards as they walk by, or to stay out of the sight of security cameras – but it’s mainly for show: even if you don’t hug the wall, it generally has the same effect. Enemies tend to have a very limited line of sight, so the stealth in the game proves to be very forgiving – handy, considering tough stealth segments end up being a hassle in a lot of games. If they see you, or you make a noise, it’ll alert them to your position. If they’re far away though, they won’t see or hear you, making it a good idea to lure closer guards towards you using a handy coin or by banging against a nearby container. The stealth is a lot of fun and rarely stressful, so you can spend your time enjoying the experience rather than worrying about having to do things just right. Heck, you don’t even need to be stealthy in order to proceed, although it is certainly advisable. Taking out enemies without them being alerted will net you with experience points that help you to level up and gain new abilities. Every time you level up, you choose between two abilities; be careful though, after picking one, the other will be gone forever. Some can really alter the way you play, so choose wisely!

In addition to taking down enemies, there will also be a lot of inventory puzzles that require using or combining items in order to proceed. A one-eyed man’s eyepatch and a stick makes for a handy slingshot, for example. The puzzling is mostly quite fun, even if the inventory management can be a little fiddly at times. You are given the option to assign items to the right stick, so it’s recommended that you use this for commonly used items such as bandages, first aid kits, and potties, in order to save yourself a little time hunting through the menu. Yes, I did say potties. Saving in the game is done by… relieving yourself … in the bathroom; but potties can be used as a way to quick save, should you feel the need to. Each potty can only be used once, and then they must be emptied at a urinal in order to use them again. It’s a neat system that works well. You are able to save when you want, but the limitation prevents people from just save-scumming every screen to exploit the game.

The game isn’t just limited to sneaking and item puzzles either, as the game often mixes up the gameplay to keep you on your toes. Whilst sneaking around military bases taking out guards makes up the bulk of your experience, there are plenty of other scenarios throughout to keep things interested. Whether it be using a compass to find your way out of a dense forest, or using your conversational prowess to send a drill sergeant into tears, you’ll frequently be doing lots of different things to help break up the main gameplay. Boss battles are also scattered frequently throughout, and every one offers something unique and ludicrous. They’re all well-thought out and stand out as some of the best moments in the game. I won’t spoil any of them for you, as part of the fun is seeing who or what you’re going to fight next.  

Topping everything off , you have a suitably stealthy soundtrack that sets the atmosphere well, top notch voice acting (especially from the lead character) and a variety of achievements to further encourage replayability. It’s a package that’s really well put together – especially for the relatively cheap asking price. The game may have the occasional lull where a joke or set-piece doesn’t quite work, but these moments are few and far between. The developer really must be applauded for putting together a parody game that is not only consistently funny, but also consistently fun to play too.


As someone who doesn’t have much experience with the Metal Gear franchise, I was pleasantly surprised that not only was the game a laugh-a-minute, but it also played extremely well too. I didn’t expect much from UnMetal, but I ended up getting everything. A fantastic game that I hope doesn’t go by UnNoticed.