PEGBRJE: EleMetals: Death Metal Death Match, Anarcute and QLRZ
Rounding out Page 17 with some bangers — seriously, the audio is so good today.
EleMetals: Death Metal Death Match is the lengthy title for a pure metal multiplayer brawl made by WALLRIDE Games, an indie duo studio comprised of two industry veterans based in Minnesota. It also features the audio works of the audio duo Fat Bard, who have popped up constantly in the bundle for their fantastic works across numerous titles, and their best will be needed; take one look at this title and you’ll see why.
If I was somehow able to strip away all of the style that oozed from every aspect, EleMetals is a simple multiplayer brawler in which players pit against each other in a fight to the death. Each player chooses their metalhead fighter to compete, but they all have the same move set with only aesthetic differences from what I can tell. Fighters can dash after jumping, creating a barrier around themselves that can destroy enemies, protect themselves from projectiles, and generally maneuver throughout the thirty different maps. Each fighter holds up to three metal shards to be thrown at each other, which can be charged up to three times in order to launch a more powerful projectile with each shard charged. Recharging requires mashing a button, or just holding it for a slower effect.
Now there is no health bars in EleMetals, meaning that a single hit will kill the fighter immediately, but there is a saving grace thanks to being in Hell. Upon death, the player’s soul will emerge and begin floating to the top of the screen to be banished from the round. To stop this, players will mash buttons furiously in order to return their soul to their body and continue the round. The faster the mashing, the faster the respawn, although I did find that moderate mashing was fine as well (just not as fast). There is a small catch, however, in that if the player’s body has sunken in to, oh I don’t know, freaking lava then the banishment will occur once the soul enters the lava.
Even when I attempted to ‘strip away’ all of the style, I still couldn’t describe the game without it as that’s what EleMetals is: pure aesthetic style. These are metalheads in Hell after all, and the game wants players to know immediately. The setting of Hell itself is full of dark, gritty colours and horrifying traps from giant spikes coming out of the walls to giant lava tridents that will suddenly exist underneath to destroy the players. Things explode when they die in a fury of colours and blood — thankfully they are colour coordinated so it is very easy to tell who is dying in contrast to the backdrop. That recharge mechanic to get the shards back? Headbanging. The souls returning to their bodies while mashing? Also headbanging. The musical backdrop for this shredfest? Gee, I wonder if it’s also headbanging metal. Fat Bard do a phenomenal job with this, adding to the fantastic visual style with amazing shreds and growls that only metal can offer. The growling/screaming vocals even play during the menus, and every choice made leading up to the brawl will be accompanied by the Narrator growling out the names of everything. It keeps the entire title’s extremely high energy going no matter what, and I can’t really praise it enough.
Ultimately, EleMetals: Death Metal Death Match offers exactly what its title gives; Death Metal and Death Matches. You’ll immediately know if this title is up your alleyway upon booting, for it’s many things but it isn’t subtle. That’s probably the only thing to worry about is the sheer volume of effects that can occur — if you are familiar with this style of game you won’t be surprised, but the colours can get a tad overwhelming even with their fantastic contrast work. Nevertheless this game is best played with anyone who loves over the top, bombastic visuals to accentuate its gameplay, and with the lockdowns coming to an end I look forward to trying this out with more people than just myself and my siblings. Rock on, my dudes.
Also, where can I get that soundtrack. Please.
Mild note to end, it doesn’t install well with the Itch.io launcher — this is a common issue with many titles, so don’t get too worried if it doesn’t work through there. Just download it directly from Itch.io
Anarcute is a riot of a riot simulator made by Anarteam, an indie studio based out of France that was assisted in publishing by Plug In Digital of France. Within this title, players are ready to take on Japan in a full on explosive riot as they follow tiny adorable creatures destroying buildings, tossing cars, and removing the Brainwash Patrol.
Rather than a singular entity, Anarcute puts players in control of an ever growing mob of cute characters as they rampage across the city in an attempt to capture specific flags that represent control of the area. Players start with a few rioters, collecting more to their party as they find them scattered throughout the city blocks ‘asleep’ to the fighting only to bring them in to the fold. Now this mob size is a signifier of strength as shown by the music becoming louder and more exciting with the more individuals, but it also represents the health of the player. Rioters can be damaged by the Patrol, and begin to flash to show they are injured — another hit, and that member is lost. Lose all members, and the riot ends in a failure. Have at least one member, and more can be acquired and the riot can continue as planned.
I’d like to note that I played with a mouse and keyboard as my PS4 controller was not enjoyed by the game which spent the entire time spinning. It still works with M&K, just a bit more challenging. Anarcute also crashed on me, but thankfully it just seemed like a hiccup, so we good!
The size of the mob also directly correlates to strength in combat, as the more members there are the more damage output that can be done in a variety of ways. This mob is great at running through relatively flimsy objects such as bins, stands, signs and poles and can even grab them to use them as weapons against the Brainwash Patrol who ‘guards’ the streets. Each member can hold a single item that can be grabbed by simply running over it, and many of these items can be thrown anywhere the player decides; at walls, at destructibles, at police officers. The ‘upgraded’ pick up is a car, which has a different button to thrown and explodes on contact, destroying impassable barrier fences and police officers alike. The other combative aspect tied to mob size is the special powers gained. At certain sizes, new abilities are given to the player, such as a massive crowd stomp that can shove heavy objects, or the ability to literally destroy any building by pushing it over. Having more powers helps to utilize the frenzy meter as well, which builds as the player attacks anything and can be used to supercharge an ability, such as a super stun or a super dash. This creates a sense of fluidity, encouraging players to keep up the combativeness at all times to ensure that the frenzy meter keeps building and can be utilized more often than not as it does decay over time if not used. I’d say that I created a strategy by the end, but in reality I just decided to go with the flow as it were, and just become really good at button mashing my way through problems.
Combining this chaotic energy with an adorable aesthetic, vibrant world and absolute banger of a soundtrack, Anarcute creates a fantastic juxtapose of adorable violence. Giving players the creative freedom of just approaching any problem in their own way is fun on its own, and destroying everything is always a fantastic bonus. There’s also the point system, grading how fast the riot went, the size of the mob, and the number of dead Patrol — these can unlock new customizations if scoring high enough. With over 50 levels to play through across 3 major cities and cutscenes to give some narrative context (if even necessary), there’s just so much to do and destroy. So go on and wreak havoc.
QLRZ is a tense puzzle game made by QLRZ studio, an indie duo that came together to create this game, featuring a soundtrack by French electro artist Jmdee. This is where I drop some of the more disappointing news, unfortunately, as this is technically the demo for the game — it was never ‘fully’ released, so it is still in the alpha stage it launched as in 2015. What is finished, however, is a window in to the possibility of a colour-coordinating puzzle game based on speed.
Players take control of that finger and have three runes in front of them, divided in to the three primary colours in red, blue and yellow. These are the how players will be stopping the terrifying meteors that are crashing down towards them, as each colour represents a counter attack. Clicking on red sends out a red energy blast to destroy red meteors, and so on. If that was it, then this would be much easier, but the thing is that players can combine colours together to get the secondary purple, orange and green, and the ultimate fusion of colours in black. Dragging the finger along the two colours and releasing will create the energy blast of the colour necessary, but it is the inclusion of these 4 extra colours that generates the fast-paced brain-melting action. See, since there are meteors dropping in all three ‘lanes’, players will be constantly jumping back and forth between lanes in order to destroy each meteor, which can really mess with the brain when seeing yellow and green side by side and accidentally sending the wrong energy. This doesn’t ruin the game, instead it destroys the combo that players have accumulated and forces them to restart — since points are the main goal (besides survival) that is a harsh pill to swallow. There are other things that may cause distraction as well, such as the goo that covers meteors that needs to be tapped to remove (sometimes it covers nothing as a fun ‘gotcha’) and chickens floating around to give extra points. Keeping within a headspace that encourages a flow is tricky, as one mess up can ruin the entire run to the final boss; a dragon who gets uncomfortably close but is taken out by the genius of colour coordination.
It’s a shame as I really do enjoy QLRZ — the story mode is the only one available, so upon beating the dragon at the end the game is over and the score can be uploaded. It captures that fun sense of simply matching colours to things while being challenging enough that I couldn’t beat normal without practice and defaulted to easy. The art is gorgeous, even if I couldn’t take much time to look at it while stopping the meteors, and the soundtrack blew me out of the water. There’s potential here, and while it may not come to fruition it is still a lovely game to play to pass the time — especially since it is on Android, which would definitely feel great to utilize the touch mechanics instead of dragging with a mouse. If you like colourful puzzles, try this out.
That’s page 17. Software comes tonight or tomorrow, I’m not sure yet.
EleMetals: Death Metal Death Match
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Anarcute is a rampaging riot simulator, combining adorable aesthetics with huge-scale chaos, colourful destruction and…