The game stars two heavy metal music fans who find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The zombies seem to be heading towards a genetic research building, and the two soon find themselves in the middle of the infestation. Luckily, the zombies seem to be distracted by their car, for reasons unknown, so the two set forth into the building to see if they can find some answers.
The graphic style is simple, but it works very well. The characters have a charming look to them. They are drawn in a cute chibi art sort of fashion, and it makes for an interesting contrast for the apocalyptic action happening around them. The backgrounds have a surprising amount of detail for the simple art style. The whole game takes place in the research building, but there is a surprising amount of variance in the different rooms that you encounter.
The characters are interesting, and each one adds to the game's humor in their own way. There isn't any voice acting in this game, but the writing is sharp and clever, so it makes up for it in a big way. The humor is done right, and the writing is right up there with the best of the comedy adventure games by Sierra and LucasArts. They also make humorous note of their influence, so you'll find some subtle references to the games from those companies in Metal Dead's dialog.
Despite the name and the premise, the game's music has very little heavy metal. It's synthesized music, but as the classic adventure games from the early 1990's have shown, this can be very effective if it's done well. Thankfully, it has been done well here. There is a varied amount of music styles here, and each song fits the scenes perfectly. It would have been nice to have a few more tracks, as you will hear some of the songs used multiple times, but they all are used well, so it's not a nuisance.
The puzzles are what make an adventure game, and they are done well here. Like many puzzles in the comedy adventure genre, you have to make a few leaps of logic, as some of the puzzles don't match real world physics. But once you realize that it's a cartoon world, and use that knowledge to solve the problems, all of the puzzles work well. There are some clever puzzles here, and while none of them reach the head scratchers of the early adventure game classics, they do rank right up there with the best puzzles from companies like Telltale Games.
The Metal Dead is a satisfying comedy adventure game. While there is no voice acting, the music, art, and especially the fantastically funny writing make up for it in spades. The game is a bit on the short side, but it is not only a fantastic first effort by Walk Thru Walls, it is one of the best pure adventure games to have come out so far in this decade.
4 out of 5