Metrocide will be released on Monday 15th December (so soon!) and Neon Dystopia had a chance to play the latest build just before it goes live on Steam.
In a nutshell, Metrocide is a great little game with elements that should appeal to Cyberpunk fans and roguelike-lovers in equal measure. The dark visuals, atmospheric audio and tense gameplay make it a perfect game for a rainy night in or, well, any other time.
Metrocide is being developed by Flat Earth Games, an indie team run by two brothers based in Sydney, Australia (seriously, what is it with Australia and brothers developing games?). Their previous release couldn’t be more different from Metrocide if it tried. They describe TownCraft, released on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as “an addictive, relaxing, and non-violent crafting and city-building game.” We might describe Metrocide as “an addictive, tense, and violent citizen-murdering game.” It doesn’t come across as a natural follow-up, but it does show their diverse interests and skill in crafting games.
“In Metrocide, you play as contract killer T.J. Trench and must earn enough cash through a series of increasingly difficult kills to escape the cyberpunk Metro City before it’s too late!
But there’s a catch! Every slip up – every dead body found, witness left alive or security camera which spots your face can increase the number of cop drones flying above the skyline – permanently.
With one-hit kills and permadeath, Metrocide is a relentless and heart-pounding contract killing shooter in which every citizen could spell you death and every mistake will cost you.”
From the get-go, you feel like you’re going to enjoy this game. That feeling isn’t misplaced. The menu screen shows the city that’ll be your playground and the profiles of some of the citizens within it. You find that some people are armed and others are paranoid. Some are both. It’s not as detailed as, say, the multi-million dollar Watch Dogs, but it was enough to make me smile.
You start in the Downtown area, with The Docks and Hilldale being areas you can venture to later. Your first weapon requires about an hour-long charge before you can fire it, but this almost gives you the opportunity to take things more slowly in the first few minutes of the game. You’ll find that raising and holstering your weapon are things you’ll have to master to be an effective contract-killer. Try practicing – it took me a while to get the hang of it.
Like Hotline Miami, Metrocide follows the familiar gameplay flow of preparation and execution. In Metrocide you tail your targets, assess the situation, and wait for the opportune moment to strike. More often than not, when you make the carefully-planned shot, shit really kicks off! There’s a lot of citizens wandering around the streets so you don’t often get much-needed ‘alone time’ for just TJ and his target. Coupled with the fact that some contracts you can pick up are time-sensitive, I often felt the need to just make the shot and run away as quickly as possible. This ties in with the core mechanic and increases the danger for your next contract. It’s a nice touch and really helps to bring the game together as a whole.
The core mechanic – the more bodies discovered, the more police drones – is yours to manage. If you want to finish contracts quickly and earn a load of cash then you need to choose a good weapon, such as the shotgun, and master TJs movement so you can run away from crime scenes. If you want to take things a little slower then make use of the sewer manholes dotted around the city and drop bodies in there. You can also spend some cash to lower the police alert rating or buy an EMP to deter nearby drones. This harmony of mechanics creates a really fun game.
All of this is just in the Normal mode. There are other unlockable game modes that I did not get a chance to play; Score Attack, Blaster Only, and Dead Trench Walking. These are likely to add many more hours to this already neatly-packaged piece of entertainment.
Overall, Metrocide feels like a story set within Blade Runner‘s Los Angeles – there’s a chance you might just walk past Deckard on your way to finishing a contract. Though it’s easy to want more from a lot of the features in the game, such as more interesting citizens and a more varied environment, it seems that the time has been spent on refining the gameplay and this is time well spent.
Metrocide will be released on Monday (December 15th) and will be available for PC and Mac through Steam.
If you have any questions be sure to ask in the Comments below.
- Unlock mission variants as you play – timed missions, armed targets, bodyguards, targets who have been tipped to your imminent arrival and more.
- Cyberpunk blasters, pulse rifles, shotguns and other sidearms will help you gun your targets down.
- Use the tools of the trade to make more sneaky kills – EMP bombs, remotely detonated explosives, flash bangs and holo-lures will help clear your path.
- The huge Metro City is divided into three districts – Downtown, The Docks and Hilldale, each with its own distinct flavour and set of challenges.
- Additional game modes and difficulty settings keep the game fresh long after you’ve beaten it – Score Attack Mode, Blaster Only Mode, Impossible Difficulty Mode and Dead Trench Walking (wherein every citizen is armed and trying to kill you) allow players to customise their difficulty.
- A die-hard challenging experience – even on the easiest difficulty setting this game is not for the faint-hearted.
- Unpredictable citizens make it impossible to know for certain how each kill will turn out, so you’ll have to plan each kill wisely.
- Drag bodies into sewer drains and rivers to cover your tracks.
- Fool cop drones, bodyguards, cameras and other citizens into taking out your targets for you.
- An exponential system of difficulty where mistakes increase the number of cop drones and that number can never be brought back down.