Probably my favorite moment in UnMetal came when I snuck through a screen full of sleeping guard dogs. My stench blew visibly through the screen, alternating straight and straight. The goal, of course, was to weave gently through the mortal rogue without my horrible, sewer-soaked clothes waking them up. But on my second attempt, I found something: I went to the inventory and equipped the thermal suit that I had previously used to pass thermal sensors. To my surprise and delight, the costume contained my stench and I was able to walk among the dogs. Was it just a bug, or had the lone developer really considered me putting on the costume? I think it’s the last one, because it’s a seriously well-designed game.
Shortly after, I come across a series of jets of flames that I have patiently dodged. And when I reached the end, Jesse was asked why he didn’t just use the thermal suit, which allowed him to get through the flames unscathed. Jesse hastily tries to invent a lie that his mind is foggy, but has to admit that he just didn’t think about it. On the way home, I shyly donned the costume and walked through the fires that had finished me twice. Touch, touch, touch.
This is just a small piece of UnMetal, both a pay and a parody of many classic games created by a single guest: Francisco Téllez de Meneses, who is simply called Fran. Above all, Metal Gear Solid’s inspirations are the driving force behind everything, especially the simple but elegant stealth. There are dozens of guards to overtake or beat, boss action to go through, items to combine and enough broken 4th walls to take down the whole house. And let’s face it, no matter how good the Metal Gear Solid games were (well, except for those, anyway), they sometimes took themselves very seriously, more luxurious in long cutscenes like a pig wallowing in a mud bath. UnMetal happily mocks MGS and a bunch of other games and gaming tropes in general, but at no point does he feel like it’s coming from a bad place – Fran clearly loves Kojima’s work and games in general.
And finally, I must admit that UnMetal is a flawless experience. I have never experienced any problem or bug. Everything worked out, and in 2021 it’s great. So many games are launched in poor condition with bugs everywhere or the performance drops so much that Windows 11 seems perfectly stable. Of course, it is much easier to polish a smaller indie game to get a glossy finish, but there is no doubt that Fran went through his game with a thin brush, looking for everything he could find. And this attention to detail means that there are a lot of cool little details to discover, like the whole thermal suit getaway I mentioned earlier.
Lurking in the shadows as Solid Snake waits to smother the unsuspecting guard meddling in his own affairs, UnMetal would be easy to overlook and it’s a scary shame. I’m glad I didn’t skip this one because UnMetal is one of my favorite experiences of the year, and I urge you not to forget it either. Comedy in video games usually misses a lot more than it hits, but UnMetal left me laughing and gorging like an foolish. Combine that with the solidly executed stealth gameplay and you’ll have a great time. I hope Jesse Fox has another adventure or two in him.