Is this a game that has wizards in it? Yes.
Can you be a wizard in this game? Yes.
Final game score: 10/10
Gunmetal Arcadia Zero is pretty much right my alley as far as awesome game stuff goes. It’s a retro style 2D exploration platformer. A Metroidvania if you will. Well… it’s not exactly a Metroidvania, it’s more of Metroidvania-esque. I’ll get into that silly distinction in the “gameplay” section.
Graphics: I dig on the graphics for the most part. Old style pixel graphics are my jam. I feel like GAZ lacks a bit definition at times. Things in the background can be a little hard to sort out from time to time. And some of the sprites don’t look as sharp as I’d prefer. It’s a bit ugly is what I’m trying to say. But this is clearly a conscious design choice and I’m not really mad about it. It’s just a bit too… Spectrum-y for my tastes, I guess. I prefer things to be more NES-y or Genesis-y.
There’s a cool feature where you can set the video settings to emulate that crappy old TV you used to play your old console on. My friend, Nick, had this portable TV that was really terrible quality. Our parents would be all like: “You scamps are playing too much of them electronic games, go do something else.” And we’d be all like: “Sure, we won’t hide under the bed and plug the Master System into this tiny portable black and white TV where Shinobi looks like a bunch of blobs. We won’t do that.” In Gunmetal Arcadia Zero you can relive those days.
Gameplay: Zelda II: The Adventures of Link had a baby with Faxanadu to create this game. The basic controls are very similar to Zelda II, sans shield. You jump, walk back and forth, duck, and stab. The aesthetics are all Faxanadu. Simon Belmont was the fairy godmother, and gifted sub-weapons. You also have bombs.
What makes this a not-Metroidvania is that there are discrete levels. You get the obligatory three lives to get through each level. All of the levels are quite large and have branching paths for you to explore. Shops and chests are hidden in rooms all around the levels. It encourages both careful exploration on an initial playthrough, and speed running strats once you know optimal routes.
Story: Gunmetal Arcadia Zero is the story of a brave Tech Elf in a war. I’m not sure what makes Tech Elves any different than other elves. Maybe they spend less time dancing and singing lame songs around forest groves and more time dancing and singing lame songs around… um… CPUs or something. Anyhow… elves are kind of lame most of the time. Pointy eared wizard wannabes…
Your avatar, Vireo decides to join the war. You grab your grandmother’s old sword and you have at. Each level is a different part of the war front. Taking you from your city wall to swamps and castles and all that fun jazz. You have an older sibling who you are following and a younger one who is following you. All in all the story is nothing to write home about, but it’s fun to piece together parts of the world as you explore the levels.
You can join two different factions: The Vanguard, who are the warrior types (boooo), and The Seekers who are the wizard types (yaaaaay!). This sounds really cool, but I’m not sure this has any actual effect on the gameplay beyond certain weapons costing less. So, while you can be a wizard, being a wizard doesn’t really get you much more than being a warrior. Still, you should be a wizard. Warriors are for dweebs.*
Admittedly, I have not finished Gunmetal Arcadia Zero because I am old and have things to do. Shoggoths do not summon themselves**. So, there may be more to the two different paths than I’m able to discern. GAZ is also a prototype*** for the upcoming Gunmetal Arcadia which comes out later this year. Gunmetal Arcadia promises more of the same with some Roguelite mechanics. Really, the way to make this a perfect game is to add some Rogue Legacy to the mix. I’m excited. I’ll see about reviewing that when it comes out.
*Note that in the stream I choose to be a warrior. That is because I am a huge hypocrite. Come at me bro.
**Well, most of the time…
***Prototype? Demo? Entirely different thing? I’m not sure.