Metal Arms: Glitch in the System Review


Metal Arms is a blast. Literally. Almost more of an “action robot shooter” than a platform game, Metal Arms delivers plenty of action, some cool gameplay mechanics, and a great hero and story. But before I get into why Metal Arms is so much fun, I better fill you in on the background story.

Screenshots
Our hero.

The “Glitch” in the game’s subtitle, Glitch in the System, is a small industrial mining robot. What Glitch lacks in size, though, he makes up for in guts and is given a chance to prove his metal, er, mettle.  Rescued from the scrap heap, Glitch might have been ignored if it wasn't for the fact that the robots of Droid City are facing an invasion from General Corrosive and his army of milbots.  Things aren't going well for the peaceful robots of Droid City, so when Glitch volunteers to help Colonel Alloy is more than happy to throw him into the breach.  So it begins for Glitch, following a couple of fellow fighters into the heat of battle he is soon on his own but quickly shows that he is quite capable of taking on the milbots.  As Glitch you must fight off the invasion and bring peace back to the robots of Droid City.

Glitch is a very versatile robot.  He can swap out his hands and replace them with a number of interchangeable weapons.  On his right hand he has his choice of a myriad of projectile weapons, while his left is used to unleash more explosive attacks like grenades.  You can switch the weapons on both arms individually by cycling through them with the Circle and Square buttons, and the action will freeze while you select your weapon of choice.  Of course Glitch doesn't start out with much in the way of weaponry.  You'll initially have to fend for yourself with a little mining laser converted for military use.  It can take a little time to cut through enemy robots by using a mining laser, but if you're smart you can get a lot of mileage out of your laser equivalent of a peashooter thanks to the game's location-based damage model.

If you concentrate your fire on an enemy's weapon, you can knock it out and effectively eliminate him as threat without needing to destroy it.  Or you can walk up to it and beat it senseless with your melee attack.  Knock out its legs and stop it in its tracks, or for fun blow its head off and watch it run in circles like the proverbial chicken, firing in all directions and shooting its own allies.  The game's designers have done an excellent job of implementing the location-based damage.  In most games with this feature, each location is afforded a certain amount of damage points and when reached the part simply falls off or explodes.  In Metal Arms, if you hit an enemy's gun arm you'll through off his aim, and you can knock him off his feet with some well-placed shot to the legs.  Blow up the torso while leaving the legs alone can result in a host of robotic legs running in random directions around a level, a very humorous site to see.  The downside to the location-based damage is that it can be hard to aim your weapon, especially at longer ranges.  The game provides you some aid in the form of a reticule that turns red when over a target, but the control is not fine enough to direct your fire to a particular area of your target unless you are up close and personal.