Iron Meat is a run-and-gun side-scrolling shooter in the vein of Contra. There’s retro-authentic graphical violence, driving and chugging guitars, and two playable levels in the recently released demo. I sat down to give it a playthrough, and the short version is that it’s a lot of fun.
Retro-inspired Meat and Metal
The Iron Meat Demo (which I suggest you check out if you’re a fan of arcade platform shooters), as mentioned, has two levels currently playable as well as a co-op mode. The game unmistakably draws heavy inspiration from NES era shooters and plays mechanically as though it was a well-played relic from that era. The first level has you blasting your way out of a forest where some biomechanical substance or being has begun to fuse its organic components with everything it can find. So, naturally, it can find a lot of metal, thus Iron Meat.
The game genuinely does play almost identically in essence to a shooter from that era, so well that I think you could probably convince me it was one if I didn’t know better. This mechanical and stylistic homage plays well into the frantic barrage of rushing enemies, bullet hell bosses, and the general fun of those shooters that established the genre. Again, it does everything in its source material well, and if you’re looking for this sort of retro run-and-gun game, Iron Meat is that and more.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the soundtrack composed by genre resident Darkman 007, who gives the game its due in perfectly crunchy driving power guitars. It’s just the sort of music you’d want to hear while ascending a metal tunnel of meat, blood and tanks. But, really, the sound design, in general, was a pleasant throwback that was clearly made with care and forethought.
Overall, Iron Meat doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t really need to. If you loved Contra or any other similar shooters of the era, you’ll enjoy Iron Meat. It’s not just a love letter to the classics but a great experience on its own that takes up the torch and runs with it in its own way.
If you want to check out the Iron Meat demo, you can do so here.