Metal Dogs is an Early Access top-down dungeon crawler where you play as a dog with guns strapped to their back. We got the chance to do a full preview of the game ahead of its full release.
There is something incredibly specific about Metal Dogs. It’s something that could only be found in the early PlayStation 3 era of games, where Japanese developers were turning their wildest ideas into titles for the console.
Games like Tokyo Jungle and SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day specifically come to mind when playing something like Metal Dogs.
The idea of strapping guns to a dog and letting them loose on a mechanical wasteland can only be achieved by independent titles, and thankfully this one commits very hard to its insane premise.
The game even has a simple photo mode, where you can pose your dog with stickers and a cool background, which shows that the developer wholeheartedly embraces how ridiculous the concept can be.
Metal Dogs takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a virus has turned organic material into twisted mechanical amalgamations, not only giving them a boost in size but also in artillery.
The game’s early enemies still retain some of their animal parts, but eventually you start dealing with straight up tanks and warships.
The game’s protagonist dog, named Pochi, is revived through an electric shock by a scientist. Their dynamic starts with the scientist being cold and uncaring, afraid that he’ll witness yet another death, but he eventually warms up to Pochi.
The scientist is our main source of exposition, and since Pochi can’t talk, he mostly speaks at the player and gives us more insight into this world and what ended it.
What is most surprising is that the game doesn’t carry itself on the premise alone. Metal Dogs is actually a really competent dungeon crawler roguelike, even featuring some Diablo itemization.
The player can loot various wooden crates around the map, as well as killing larger enemies to find more powerful weapons, which have their own rarity indicated by color.
Finding a stronger weapon is immediately noticeable through gameplay, and helps with making the player feel like they are slowly getting stronger.
The game starts off fairly easy, but ramps up fast with large boss fights against mutated plants and animals fused with artillery. The first few missions let the player familiarize themselves with the controls before the difficulty increases.
Eventually, as fights get more hectic, the game starts to feel like a bullet hell, with huge blasts coming from all directions while you try to hop around and fight back. You can watch me play a few missions below:
As an Early Access game, Metal Dogs is looking extremely solid. Performance in Metal Dogs is flawless, no bugs in sight, a tight gameplay loop and interesting lore and worldbuilding.
It may be too early to say this, but 2023 just might be the year of the shiba inu.
Metal Dogs is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows (through Steam).