Metallic Child is a rogue-lite action-adventure game developed by Studio HG and published by Crest. Players find themselves controlling the likes of Rona, a titular metallic child. Due to an uprising aboard Rona’s ship, both she and the ship are crippled.
Rona must rely on you to take control of her to not only repair the ship, but find out just what happened. Is this Metallic Child worth taking control of, or are you better off sticking to robot Sock’em Boppers?
Developer: Studio HG
Platforms: Windows PC (reviewed), Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 15th, 2021
Price: $24.99 USD
I was pretty satisfied with the overall story, featuring a creative concept that elicits sadness as well as humor and light-heartedness. Rona has set out a distress signal from the ship she’s on, The LifeStream.
Due to a rebellion of some sort, the LifeStream is set to collide with the planet Earth. Rona is damaged and unable to control herself; and that’s where you, the player come in.
The story acknowledges you as a player/gamer who is now tasked with taking control of Rona, unraveling the mystery of just what happened aboard the ship, and repairing it before it crashes into Earth. There’s an innocence to Rona that’s very appealing, and there’s an interesting dynamic to the player’s relationship with her.
The top-down shooter gameplay here is great. Rona can carry two of the three weapons available to her at the start of each stage; each having its own special ability. It really comes down to which playstyle is the best for you in terms of which weapon to use.
You’ll come across other weapons as you go, and can swap them out if desired. Rona can also grab and throw enemies, which can be particularly useful when you have a room full of them, or even if you’re in a tight space. Throwing an enemy against a wall can easily knock them down, and give you a chance to perform a special move to take them out.
A key part of the gameplay is managing your “cores”- buffs or nerfs to your character. Rona has the ability to absorb cores from defeated enemies, as well as from different stations as she moves through the stage. These cores are mostly good, but you can come across some “bugged” ones as well.
In one instance, I found a bugged core that reduced my attack by 30%. Another put an irritating spam ad on my screen obscuring my view. Proper management of cores, however, can be the difference between beating a boss or starting all over again.
In another instance, a core allowed me to receive one additional hit after my life had been exhausted. It was because of this core that I was able to defeat the Gigantic Metallic child. Speaking of defeating the Metallic Children, Rona will also absorb the special ability of each as she does so.
It reminds me of Gabriel from Heroes, able to eat people and consume their powers… Just in a much less creepy way. You’ll have the choice of equipping two of these abilities at the start of each stage.
These abilities will help substantially with later enemies and other Metallic Children. These Metallic Children are very much like Rona, Androids each serving as the boss battle for the end of the stage.
These boss battles are not like regular enemies where you can mostly get away with button mashing. They require strategy, situational awareness, and timing. Once you knock them down to about half health, they kick it into “Second Gear” and you’ll find yourself pressed more with attacks.
My main issue with Metallic Child is that the stages are very repetitive. While it does try to mix it up and change the expectation of what comes next, each stage is almost the same minus some cosmetic changes (albeit consisting of unique aesthetic designs).
The game begins to feel tedious, with each stage having four levels to get through before you reach the boss. If you make it that far and die, you’re going all the way back to the beginning to start again. There were a few times where I found myself nodding off trying to fight through the various stages, but hardcore rogue-lite style players may not have that same issue.
When you enter the Boss area or enemy NEST, there’s an Exploration Crate waiting for you.If you’ve explored that stage to 100%, you get what’s in the box. While you have no obligation to explore any stage fully, it’s in your best interest to do so; as opposed to facing higher-tier enemies with fewer abilities, weapons, and cores at your disposal.
I played with Japanese dub and English subtitles, with no option for English dub at this time. While judging voice work in other languages can be difficult, I will say the emotion of the scene always felt conveyed properly. When Rona was concerned, frightened, or sad, you could feel those emotions expressed by the voice actor.
The soundtrack is fitting, and one you would expect from a game filled with androids and robots. The upbeat techno helps keep you in the grove while dispatching enemies.
Visually, the game looks terrific. You’ll see some really great character design from Rona and the other Metallic Children all the way down to the enemies. As you progress through the game, you’ll be able to unlock different customization options in the lab.
Despite the repetitiveness of the various stages, Metallic Child is a fun action-filled story, highlighted by unique gameplay. If rogue-lite games are one of your favorite genres, it’d be a sin not to give Metallic Child a go. Actually, even if rogue-lite games aren’t your typical cup of tea, it’s still worth a go.
Metallic Child was reviewed on Windows PC using a review code provided by Crest. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.