by June 29, 2021 @ 10:58 am
Previewed on PC
It’s been a while since a game’s writing was able to make me laugh out loud quite like UnMetal. Oh, don’ get me wrong — this is a tough stealth game that will challenge you, but it’s also pretty funny. It’s equal parts retro stealth-action throwback and clever comedy piece. And after playing a bit of it, I’m stoked to see the full game through and dive deeper into its world of military grade sneakin’ around and off-kilter humor.
You take on the role of Fox, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. No, really! I mean, he’ll explain as much quite a few times in the game, too! Fox is captured after an escape attempt from a military base. As he’s being interrogated by high-ranking officials, you get to play out his escape. This results in some fun back-and-forth banter between Fox and other characters, as well as some witty narration. Despite his heavy, matter-of-fact demeanor, the gruff-voiced Fox is an endearing, sometimes silly character.
UnMetal isn’t just about the laughs — though there’s no denying that the funny writing is a major selling point. Beneath the comedic layer is a genuinely interesting and difficult stealth game. While moving through the covert base, you’ll need to take cover behind crates, sneak carefully around guards, create distractions, and neutralize any threats.
There are a lot of ways to get guards’ attention. You can punch a box, making noise to lure them in and then stealth-dropping them when they approach. You can throw a shiny coin out in front of them — military personnel love coins — and come up behind them to take them down. Or you can just let them see you, run and hide, wait for them to come look for you, and surprise them. There are plenty of options, but if you want to earn XP to upgrade Fox’s skills, you’ll want to dispose of enemies without them noticing you.
Speaking of which, it’s worth it to level up as doing so allows you to improve Fox’s attack, movement speed, and so on. UnMetal rewards you for careful play, and the stealth mechanics work really well, so there’s really no reason to get reckless.
Aside from all of the sneaking around, you’ll have to craft items to solve minor environmental puzzles. One instance required me to construct a radio to get in contact with another prisoner. In order to do that, I had to find a radio and a circuit to encrypt the signal so outsiders wouldn’t listen in. Doing so was simple and required that I look around nearby areas for the necessary items, and it was a fun diversion from all of the stealth gameplay.
Hearing Fox’s recounting of these events while playing is often quite funny, and I often reacted by either chuckling or straight-up cracking up at the dialogue. There’s one part where Fox justifies taking both an eye patch and a glass eye from the same soldier. You get two choices during this dialogue event: “suspicion” and “stress relief.” I selected “suspicion,” and Fox explained that a man with a glass eye had no reason to wear an eye patch, so that’s why Fox took both.
Outside of the dialogue and narration, there are some funny moments while you’re moving through the base. At one point, I encountered an enemy who was sneezing. A circle around the guard indicated the noise radius of his sneeze. I was really curious as to why an enemy would have a sneeze noise radius, so I walked into it while he sneezed again. That resulted in Fox issuing a polite “bless you,” alerting the enemy of his presence while simultaneously making me laugh out loud at the sheer comedic dopiness of Fox.
The really cool thing about UnMetal is how well it strikes that balance between tough stealth sequences and legit funny writing. It’s an odd pairing, no doubt, but the game just makes it work. After playing the demo, I was left wanting more. If you dig retro stealth games like the original Metal Gear and you also enjoy some entertaining, self-referential, and just plain hilarious dialogue, definitely put UnMetal on your watch list.
A preview code was provided by the publisher for this article.
Follow this author on Twitter.