Additive manufacturing (AM) especially laser additive manufacturing (LAM), a novel manufacturing technique of layer-by-layer forming according to geometric model, provides a decent option for materials processing. It owns advantages of rapid prototyping, customization, high material utilization, and the ability to form complicated structures. This paper reviews popular LAM techniques of selective laser sintering/melting, laser metal deposition and laser direct writing. The development status of metallic materials including pure metal, steel, superalloy, titanium and aluminum alloy is presented. The challenges and application limitations of LAM are involved and the development trend in the future is forecasted. In summary, this paper gives an overview of metal LAM expecting to made helpful suggestions on future research and development.