How Metroidvania is it? Perfect Fit. Metamorfose S is very close to an Igavania clone. People who enjoyed the general feel of Symphony of the Night will be right at home here.
Primary Challenge: Melee Combat, Exploration Focus
Time to beat: ~8 hours
Review Info: Metamorfose S was played on Steam.
Buy Metamorfose S if you like…
- Castlevania Style Games
- Leveling Systems
- Finding secrets behind cracked walls
- Amateur Games
- Large Worlds
▼ Review continues below ▼
Metamorfose S doesn’t look particularly good to me. Its textures clash with each other and the character animations look like early millennial flash animations. The first hour or so of the game had me very hopeful though, because I could see so many game design principles were understood by the clearly talented developer that made this game. I thought for just a moment that I had finally found that hidden gem with bad graphics that I could use to prove that great graphics aren’t everything. And, I sort of did, because in spite of all of its issues Metamorfose S still manages to be pretty decent – it just falls a little lower on the totem poll of good Metroidvania games.
Its best feature is its exploration. The verticality and overall layout of the level design is basically on par with something that would come from the Castlevania series. In some ways the poor textures work in Metamorfose S’s favor here, because there are “hidden” breakable walls scattered throughout the map that stick out as pretty clearly having a chunk of texture pasted over them – allowing your keen eyes remove the frustration of having to hit every single wall to find them. Rewarding secrets are also tucked away on cliffs you barely can’t reach and sometimes require even a little puzzle platforming to get to them. If just exploring a castle is your favorite thing about Metroidvania games then you’ll probably be able to overlook this game’s other problems and find something you love.
Complementing the level design is the leveling system. Both the crafting system and the stat system is rudimentary but effective. Every time you level up you can raise up one of your stats by a small amount, and while upgrading your gear is going to reap the stronger rewards, choosing your stats is just meaningful enough to make your decisions matter. Crafting doesn’t offer too many decision points, but the ones it does are also meaningful. All your armor pieces compete amongst themselves for similar materials, as do your jewelry options. Your sword progression is strictly linear with each upgrade replacing the last, but because each one has a unique charge ability you may want to save before upgrading to be sure you don’t like a sword earlier in the chain more than the next in line. While you can technically make your game much harder by wasting crafting materials that can only be found in limited quantities per playthrough, it’s also exciting to see what crazy spell your next sword will give you, and that really gets you motivated to explore every nook and cranny of the game world.
Stifling some of this exploration fun is the monster design. The combat itself isn’t really bad, it just suffers from some technical issues like wonky hitboxes. The enemies however are disappointing. The first boss initially makes it seem like there will be some patters to enjoy figuring out, but it’s almost immediately followed by a boss that flies around the screen aiming at who knows what as I simply waited for him to finish putting on his pointless dance show. Past that point in the game it becomes pretty clear too that with only a couple of exceptions there is really only one enemy type in the game. Most enemies stand in one place, and about every three seconds they distinctly telegraph a slow attack that causes them to lunge in your direction, then they quickly return to their original position. Sometimes the attack has range, or maybe a slightly surprising hitbox, but very few enemies stray from this pattern. This not only made ranged attacks particularly overpowered, but also as you might imagine it gets boring pretty quickly. Visually, there are possibly even 100 different enemies in this game, but 90% of them are effectively the same thing.
Every time I got bored or annoyed with the combat I was rewarded with something else that made me want to keep going, and one of those things was the game’s plot. It’s endearingly bad, but written well enough that the mystery kept stringing me along. Some of the game’s translation from Portuguese is on the level of Zero Wing’s “All Your Base”, but that only made it more entertaining for me. If you don’t enjoy “so bad its good” you might mock Metamorfose S, but I personally am looking forward to the sequel the game’s ending teased.
It’s a hard cruel world in the current gaming industry, so even when I can technically say that a majority of what I’ve reviewed so far is probably better than Metamorfose S, I can’t help but love it for its sincerity. Its graphics can be hard to look at, its music often inappropriate, and the combat design is as amateur as the presentation suggests. However, there’s enough soul to its level design that I think any Metroidvania fan that puts the genre’s unique wanderlust as their highest priority will still find an enjoyable game. And, at its mini-Metroidvania price point, you still get fully fledged game – so really it’s impossible for me to not recommend this.
Even with wonky hitboxes and janky animations, combat manages to be mostly fun
Simiilar to the Igavania games, any platforming that exists is to get from point A to B rather than to challenge the player
There are a lot of fun and important upgrades to be found, with an achievement for almost every hidden passage
No real puzzles to speak of
It's very silly, but entertaining in a ''So bad its good'' sort of way
Some of the textures really make it hard to discern what is what, especially in the fire zone
The music isn't bad but it sounds like stock music, and isn't always consistent or even appropriate
You choose your stats when you level up so theoretically you could get some replay mileage out of changing that up
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All Time: Mostly Positive
(75% of 77 Reviews)