Liquid metal is a 3-D Adventure/Platform by indie dev Sean Gordon, creator of Save State Games. The game revolves around robot hero Doug, an assembly line worker that witnesses his girlfriend Jill get abducted by aliens…and by aliens I mean humans plucked right out of 80’s California (more on that later). He must explore his world of Xenobia, fighting humans and aiding allies, in his quest to save his shiny, chrome love!
Let’s get the standard but very important highlight out of the way: THIS GAME IS IN ALPHA! At least, the build we received is, so by the time you read this, the game might be a very different experience than from what you might enjoy! That being said, let us proceed to the first look, starting with the visuals.
First off, a big round of applause to whomever textured the metal in this game. From our main character to the surrounding debris from the human invasion, if it’s made of metal, it looks stunning. What could easily have just been smooth, gray shapes are well lit and shaded, are mottled with darker and lighter tones of metallic grays and blacks, and show pitting from the wear and tear of life. Much of the rest of the game is rough and unpolished. The sea is red from either the misfortune of being water on an alien planet, or, as I like to imagine, stained with the blood of the the humans foolish enough to invade a planet full of THINKING MACHINES! Doug lacks any semblance of a face beyond eyes, but you still get a sense of emotion from his voice and body language, yet it’s still somewhat unsettling when his shiny face is reflecting the oddly animated fire. But hey that’s just me, and with some touch ups, i’m sure it will shine like the rest of the chrome inhabitants.
Gameplay feels very familiar if you gamed at all in the 90’s. Calling itself a mix of inspiration from Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda and Metal Gear, there is a strong resemblance to old platformer based adventure games. Jumping from walkway to walkway, to eventually find yourself at the first actual level (jumping through a triangular portal/door that reminded me strongly of the paintings in Mario World), you find yourself in a room full of platforms, bounce pads, enemies and, of course points to collect in the form of small bronze-ish orbs. The room also lets you brush up on those old platforming skills, as you explore the various pathways that get you to the top, where you learn about pipes that can get you where you need to go *cough* Mario *cough* The controls are simple and very intuitive, and I found
myself picking it up almost as soon as I grabbed the controller, so big points for keeping it simple but effective. Also, there’s a way to self destruct. No, I won’t tell you which buttons make you do so.
One last highlight before we get to the down and dirty. That. Fucking. MUSIC!
Specifically the tune playing during the main menu. The whole loop only lasts about 36 seconds (I timed it) but it gets you absolutely pumped to hop into the game, bounce on some human heads, and save a damn planet! Kudos to their composer, Simon de la Cruz, for his catchy guitar/retro game pop music! While we’re on the topic of audio choices, the voice cast is also impressive, featuring actors like Tom Kane (Yoda from Clone Wars) and Steve Cardenas, the original Red Ranger! The humans are an endless source of chuckles, as they are all exaggerated impersonations of what I imagine anyone’s parents growing up on the southwest coast of the US probably sounded like.
Now for the trouble spots. Alpha may be alpha, but the frame rate while I was playing made it, in certain areas, very difficult to enjoy. Even with my settings dropped the lowest they could go, the visuals were so choppy that making a jump over a gap was more luck than skill, and landing a jump on a foes head was even more of a crap shoot. I died more to poor jumps from frame rate issues than actual mistakes. Enemies also aren’t sure how walls work apparently, as the few that wield laser guns would often shoot right through them, damaging my already fragile health bar. It also took me way too long to realize my objective in level 1. Or rather I knew it was ‘Talk to Sky’ but where were they? This was, however, likely my own rusty instincts with these types of games, but the lack of an understanding of where to go also kept me from finding level 2. I found 3 and 4, but both are locked with 2 undone. Again, this is possibly my own lack of experience in classic world exploration, but a hint would be nice! The ONLY major bug I encountered was in a training room. A small bot let me use his training room, full of captured humans to practice on, for 10 coins. I readily agreed…and soon found myself dead on the floor from that pesky frame rate attack the enemies seem to have. Instead of getting back up at the end of the session, or even being booted back to the start of the level, the game just sat there. Starting at my twitchy corpse. I had to hard cancel the game to get back to the start.
All in all, this alpha shows off a game that will make you wax nostalgic for the games of your youth. Or at least the mid to late 90’s. Liquid Metal is the first game from Save State Games, and their Beta Reboot launches on the 17th of January, so go make sure to give them a look and, if you like what you see, give them a few bucks to see this game a reality!
Thanks for reading everyone,
More information on both Liquid Metal and Save State Games can be found at their website by following this link!
Their Kickstarter reboot begins on the 17th of January, and can be found here!