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Metal Torrent

For: DSi
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Torrentially short

Product: Metal Torrent | Publisher: Arika | Format: DSi | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Metal Torrent DSi, thumbnail 1
The human race's fascination with space, the universe, and everything beyond it has inspired a great deal of budding minds in the world of entertainment.

While cinema got such classics as Star Wars and Star Trek, gamers were less interested in exploring the far stretching blackness and more in blasting everything in sight.

Indeed, while films set in deep space tend to involve elaborate stories based around alien races and far away planets, the gaming world usually gives the back seat to the reasoning behind all the pew-pew.

Of course, that's the way we like it - wiping out whole screens full of enemies is immense fun.

In this instance, Metal Torrent gives the player exactly he wants, with ridiculously overpowered weapons, massive scoring potential, and no story whatsoever.

Unfortunately, it really doesn't last very long at all, and the content levels are dangerously low. 

Bit of torrent

Set over eight 'phases', the action is colourful to say the least. Enemy spaceships of various shapes and sizes boost onto the screen, spurting out bullets in all directions.

Not to be outdone, the player has two weapons at his or her disposal - a screen-filling bullet-hell shower, and a secondary 'when all else fails' attack.

There are two different ships to choose from, depending on which difficulty you want to take on.

The Red Orion is the easy option. Its primary bullet spread is stupidly wide, keeping even those baddies trying to sneak around the edge of the screen.

The second weapon is a blast radius which engulfs your ship - any bullets caught in the blast are turned into cubes, which in turn fill up the power meter.

Firing the weapon depletes the meter, however, so it becomes a balancing act of power versus health.

The Blue Nova - listed as 'Maniac' mode - is only slightly different, but the effect on gameplay is huge. The primary spread isn't as wide, so you'll find yourself moving around the screen a lot more.

The secondary weapon is a forward-shooting laser of death. Any enemy caught in this beam will die very quickly, and all of the bullets which that bad guy fired will also be eliminated.

This makes the gameplay more tactical, as you attempt to conserve energy levels and only use the laser when appropriate. If a barrage of bullets is headed your way, you'll need to take out the source if you've any hope of surviving.

Just keep blasting...

Every couple of phases, there's a short boss battle. These are decent enough, but each boss is the same enemy, just with slightly different bullet arrangements.

It's a bit of a shame, since classic shmups live by their epic boss fights, and these particular battles fall far too flat.

Fortunately, the rest of the action does the genre a great amount of justice.

Huge combos are strung together as you power your way through hordes of oncoming enemy forces. The sense of destruction is glorious. Your cannons are absolutely brutal, and it's a joy to wipe the screen clean of every opponent who dares to get in your way.

The big combos lead to mega scores, too, with numbers going far into the millions. This is what shmuping is all about.

...but not for too long

Yet while the gameplay is wonderful, the lack of substance is underwhelming.

A single playthrough takes about 11 minutes. You read that right - the entire eight phases last just 11 minutes.

It's all about the replay value, though, right? Sadly, there's not much of that to speak of either.

Apart from the two difficulty levels, there are two modes - Pattern (set enemy spawns and paths) and Random (random enemies). No more, no less.

Of course, you could argue that Random mode provides a new game every time, but really this just isn't enough.

It feels as though the levels provided should have been the first world in a much longer, more epic shooter. Instead, it ends and you're left thinking 'Was that it?'

The choice of difficulty levels is odd, too. Easy mode is stupidly easy, with deaths a rare occurrence, while Maniac mode is incredibly tough. Lasting through half of the waves is a miracle, let alone the whole eight.

Some sort of medium difficulty would have been very much appreciated, allowing casual players to actually feel challenged without getting absolutely annihilated.

Metal Torrent could have been a classic shmup, on a par with some of the very best.

Instead, a lack of content renders it yet another average shooter, soon to be forgotten in a sea of stars, planets and blasters.
Metal Torrent
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 24 May 2010
Metal Torrent has the makings of a fantastic space shooter, but is severely let down by a lack of content
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