Richard Sawyer

Metal Arms: Glitch in the system

12th June 2005
reviewer: Richard Sawyer
rating: 5 out of 5
developed by: Swingin' Ape Studios
published by: Sierra
rrp: £9.99
formats: Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube (PS2 version tested)

Every once in a while a game comes along that really captures your imagination. Sometimes said game has been known to capture it, hide it and play sick little games with it whilst you are out. This may seem rather abstract, but then sometimes a game can make you start reviews in weird ways. Meet Metal Arms: Glitch in the system, a game in which you play Glitch, a little fella who is more than just a pun in the title. He is the central character in this quirky, often amusing and horrendously entertaining 3rd person shooter from Swingin’ Ape Studios. Since leaving Midway in July 2000, Glitch’s escapades mark their first release. The three years in development have been very much worth it.

Metal Arms both plays and feels like the underrated MDK series of games from Shiny Interactive; this is by no means a bad thing. Like MDK, the game is very rewarding and satisfying to play. The vast array of weaponry available to you is both varied and justified. You won’t find yourself sticking to one weapon throughout the whole game. Not that you are limited to just weapons, other nice touches including doppelganger functionality, allowing the player to remotely control certain other robots, and go on kamikaze runs knowing that Glitch will be out of harms way. Not only Glitch, but his lil robot buddies too. As you battles through the levels you will have the chance to recruit and empower the weak to help you fight your cause. So there are some nice team play elements here too.

Unlike many 3rd person shooters, Swinin’ Ape have managed to bolster the superb single player adventure with an addictive, hilarious and endless multiplayer mode. 1 to 4 players can compete on all formats, in a somewhat offbeat fashion. The deathmatch games are not as simple to judge as with many shooters. Players can take control of a variety of much larger robots, rather than being Glitch. The only trouble is that these robots are trying to blow you up too. If you want to commandeer them, then you need to get a clean shot from behind- rather hard with 3 other players and “house robots” shooting the paint off your shiny metal ass.

Metal Arms is a hard game to sum up. It has everything you could want from a game of its ilk. Good graphics, excellent gameplay, originality and superb multiplayer. On the other hand, it may be a bit too quirky and hardcore for some players bred on the like of Medal of Honour, and that is a shame, because they’d really be missing out.