Who’s a good boy?
If you’ve been holding off on playing Metal Dogs until you can hold it in your hands, the Switch version is coming your way. 24Frame and Cygames will be dropping their dog-powered shooter on North American anglophones on March 8, following its recent release in Europe.
What is Metal Dogs, and what does it have to do with tank-a-licious series, Metal Max? It’s a run-and-gun spin-off featuring the series’ best boy, Pochi. Aside from that, not much. While it’s set in the sort of grimmer world of Metal Max Xeno, gameplay is entirely different. You outfit your mutt with canons, sub-weapons, and special equipment, then delve some dungeons with various objectives. There are wanted monsters, but you’re not really hunting them as you would in the main series. It’s mostly just callbacks and references, but that’s often what a spin-off is.
Metal Dogs is in Early Access on Steam and has been since 2021. It has already seen release in Japan on PS4 and Switch last April. I’m not sure what’s up with the slow trickle in the English versions, but we’re slowly getting there. Notably, Metal Dogs is being published by Cygames, who picked up the Metal Max franchise from Kadokawa games a few months after the release of the Japanese console versions, which may explain the delay.
While the PC version clearly states that it’s still in Early Access, a lot of the major content is already implemented, including the whole main campaign. Further development seems to be on tightening up the current experience and adding more content.
Metal Dogs is a reasonably fun little title, but it’s decidedly lightweight. It has more value for fans of the series than it does for newcomers, but even then, it doesn’t feature most of the gameplay standards that make the Metal Max series so delectable. For the main series, we’ve only received the PS2 title, Metal Saga, and the recent Metal Max Xeno and its re-jigger here in the West. For the real meat of the series, you’re going to need to delve into fan translations.
Metal Dogs is currently available for PC via Steam Early Access. It’s also on Switch and PS4 for Japan. A localized Switch version is available right now in Europe, and will hit North America on March 8, 2023.