Review: Mercenary Kings

Review: Mercenary Kings
4

Platforms:

Windows PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita

Game Name:

Mercenary Kings

Publisher(s):

Tribute Games Inc.

Developer(s):

Tribute Games Inc.

Genre(s):

Action side-scroller

Release Date:

March 25th, 2014

Mercenary Kings – Developer Summary:

In this frantic 2D action game, you are part of the Mercenary Kings, the most skilled team of warriors-for-hire on Earth, but when your comrades have fallen and the fearsome forces of CLAW have seized an island-wide top secret Laboratory Base, you must do what it takes to stop them.

Able to craft & customize guns’n’blades or upgrading body armor, you’ve never been this ready to join the fight. Whether it’s solo or with friends, move out, cut down CLAW and save the world!

Mercenary Kings – What We Think:

Mercenary Kings is a retro side-scrolling action game that hearkens back to the likes of Metal Slug. With some superb art and a distinctly 90s video game aesthetic, this title could easily rely on nostalgia to gain attention but Mercenary Kings has a few tricks up its sleeve to provide a little originality to the gameplay.

Mercenary Kings 1

Bold comic book style artwork sets the scene in Mercenary Kings; you’re a member of an elite mercenary squad and your team-mates have been defeated in battle by the nefarious CLAW. This enemy force has also captured a base and it’s your job to take them down. Various amusingly over the top characters are introduced as backup, providing resources and intel about your enemies.

Rambo Meets MacGyver

Setting out from a small base where these allies reside, you’ll embark on missions to overcome CLAW. These missions can involve anything from collecting resources to bringing down bosses but the meat of the action remains largely the same: shoot bad guys. Thankfully, there are plenty of enemy types to blow up and countless weapons to bring them down with. A basic but still satisfying crafting system ensures that you’ll have fun coming up with new combinations of weapon parts with which to eviscerate your foes.

Mercenary Kings 2

This crafting system helps Mercenary Kings stand out; enemies drop resources which can be crafted into new weapons and armor. Though it’s not original in of itself, when combined with this kind of retro shooter it makes for an interesting twist on the formula. Unfortunately, this variety doesn’t translate fully into the levels of Mercenary Kings.

War Almost Never Changes

While the campaign is sizable, the missions themselves can easily become repetitive. As you progress, you gain ranks and each rank comes with its own set of levels and a long list of missions. Many missions take place on the same levels and so you’ll often simply find yourself roaming the same old area farming enemies for resources to complete a mission.

The action is enjoyable enough to sustain this for sometime and you’ll have a lot of fun testing out new weapons that you have cobbled together.

Mercenary Kings 3

The art and music of Mercenary Kings perfectly evokes the retro aesthetic to wihch the game aspires. Detailed sprites colorfully portray the vivid explosions and cartoon enemies with style while the chiptune soundtrack helps to set the scene. It’s clear that a lot of love went into making this game a noteworthy throwback to the side-scrolling shooter genre.

It’s Good to Be King

Mercenary Kings packs some exciting combat and a solid crafting mechanic to keep you coming back for more. The missions, while repetitive, do remain reasonably fun as long as you don’t mind returning to the same area a few times before you get to move on.

There’s perhaps a little too much grind here, but ultimately this is a strong side-scrolling combat game with a bit more depth than your average retro shoot ‘em up. If gunning down endless hordes of well designed baddies appeals, then Mercenary Kings has your back.

Mercenary Kings – Official Site

Get Mercenary Kings on Steam

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Watch the Mercenary Kings Steam Launch Trailer

Kit Goodliffe

Kit is a freelance writer specialising in gaming, film and digital media. His passion for games began at a very young age and has only grown since then. Kit is IGR's U.K. correspondent.

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