Combining elements of existing games or genres in new ways has been a popular practice for small development studios recently, and Mercenary Kings embodies this philosophy more wholly and successfully than most. Then again, when you combine the side-scrolling shooting gameplay of Metal Slug with the freeroaming stage design of a Metroidvania game and a loot drop and weapon customization system akin to Monster Hunter you’re not left with much room to complain no matter how derivative certain elements might be. The only thing that’s really off in this mix is the difficulty, which skews much easier to start with than its mechanical inspiration but steadily ramps up to something more familiar before long. Throw in sprite art from Paul Robertson (most recently of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game fame) and you’ve got a title with solid gameplay and a delightfully self-aware attitude. The early access version only contains 60 of the full game’s promised 100 missions, but even when severely truncated the care and effort put into Mercenary Kings is incredibly clear.
December 16, 2013