Growing up in the bustling era of the arcades, there were always a cornucopia of games to choose from and one that truly stood out was SNK and NEO GEO’s Metal Slug series. The games’ animations were incredibly detailed despite being played on a 2D plane, and the multitude of things you could do with various characters really made the game feel fresh every time. Side-Scrolling Shooters provided a sanctuary for me to really let off some steam but more so allowed other players to participate when the times got real rough. Fast forward to now and we have Mercenary Kings Reloaded, an indie title from the team at Tribute Games who definitely know a thing or two about the genre. It’s quite clear from the beginning intro that the team found some inspiration from the past classics like Metal Slug, and implemented fresh new features to keep the game from going stale. Anyone who enjoys a great deal of challenge on the single player side will definitely enjoy this game, but gather friends together and the experience becomes an entirely different ordeal.
What to Expect
Anyone who has dipped their hands into the Side-Scrolling Shooter genre will know that oftentimes, games require a great deal of concentration but also knowing where enemy spawn points are in order to make traversing each map easier. In Mercenary Kings Reloaded, that same premise still remains and the enemies don’t hold back when they see you. If they see you running across the map and are alerted from above, they’ll jump down from that platform to start shooting at you. So a constant awareness is necessary in order to prevent premature deaths and course, not grow annoyed too much.
The game saw enormous success on Steam back in 2014, which certainly makes it an old game in that context, but seeing it run flawlessly on the Switch really breathes new life into it all. Up to 4 players can join together locally or online and take out enemy bosses, while collecting resources to develop stronger weapons, armor and more. You’re part of a team called the Mercenary Kings, arguably the most potent of warriors who have joined together to take down CLAW, and restore peace back to the land. With a plethora of characters to choose from, Mercenary Kings Reloaded is a thrill seeking title that provides enough content to keep you coming back for more.
As stated earlier, Mercenary Kings Reloaded plays very similarly to Metal Slug and many of your missions consist of gathering materials to upgrade your repertoire of weapons and accessories, along with taking out specific targets in order to collect your bounty. It’s no easy feat by any means which honestly can get a bit irritating at times, especially when moving solo, but that’s exactly what makes playing the game satisfying. It’s not so hard to the point where you just want to give up and walk away. It has just enough of a challenge to make you rethink your approach in order to survive longer and capitalize on past errors. You start off the game by choosing a character of your liking, all of which have their own perks. Ultimately, you can create weapons and armor for just about everyone so the character becomes more of an aesthetic than anything. You start off with a basic pistol that you can polish up and create a more powerful substitute, or purchase other weapons like the Joker if you want that submachine gun thrill. The game has every end covered for those who want a little variety and so you’re not too limited in terms of the items you have at your disposal.
In spite of all the perks that Mercenary Kings Reloaded provides, it still does have its tempestuous side which can definitely erk some players when exploring around. Control wise, the game does tend to feel stiff (couldn’t aim in all eight directions which was unfortunate) and when trying to roll out to avoid incoming enemy attacks, it doesn’t feel as fluid. We also wondered why the knife animation wasn’t able to stab upwards yet your guns could, since a knife generally is a bit lighter and allows for quick attacks if the enemy stands above you. We do love, however, the enormous amount of missions you can tackle within the game, which constantly gets better and better as you progress. It’s not always just kill this enemy and free prisoners, you also need to gather materials to actually keep up with every enemy you encounter. Each character in your HQ will provide you with their own unique perks, one example is the compendium which gives you an overview of the enemies you’ve encountered. It teaches you to stop being so complacent with your weapon selection and to really optimize every weapon’s strengths to truly get the best experience when dealing with certain enemies you encounter on the go. While single player is certainly rewarding in its own right once you get the hang of things, it’s truly the multiplayer aspect of Mercenary Kings Reloaded that raises our attention more than anything.
While you could spend hours cruising through at your own pace in single player, having your friends help out along the way really does solidify the long lasting appeal of this game in a big way. The teamwork feels a lot more endearing and taking out a multitude of enemies doesn’t feel too overwhelming anymore, which is always a nice feeling.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We had a blast with Mercenary Kings Reloaded and recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the Side-Scrolling Shooter genre. It’s by no means a perfect rendition of the genre as a whole, but it certainly lives up to expectations and creates a fulfilling experience once you gather a few buddies to take part in the action. Its cartoony yet mature appeal is a nice balance that strikes a chord with fans of Metal Slug and is still inviting to new players who’ve never touched the genre as a whole. With new features that add in new playable characters, tent banners and ornaments, along with new weapons, Mercenary Kings Reloaded is one Nintendo Switch title that you’ll need to have to keep you busy during the chilly winter months.
Multiplayer is a huge plus.
Multitude of weapon options to keep things feeling exciting.
Controls felt stiff at times.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found our review of Mercenary Kings Reloaded to be an insightful one, and that it makes your purchase decision a much easier one. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news around the world, along with anime and manga news. If you’d like to catch us live then follow us on Twitch where we play a variety of anime related titles, and much more!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!