Posted: May 15
Mercenary Kings is a game by Tribute, mixing 2D run&gun gameplay with a crafting system similar to the Monster Hunter series.
You play as one of two Kings-mercenaries trying to put an end to the nefarious Claw by completing a large amount of different missions like gathering missions, hostage rescues and elimination missions. During these missions, you gather money and materials, which can be used to craft new powerful weapons to even your odds against the overwhelming mass of Claw forces.
While Mercenary Kings sound awesome, it turned into a mediocre/bad one due to many, many questionable game design decisions.
Sigh. It's Scott Pilgrim all over again.The Good
- As expected of Paul Robertson, the Pixel Art is awesome. The terrain looks great and the characters are perfectly animated.
- Great character designs.
- The soundtrack fits the game very well.
- On- & offline co-op.
- Weapons crafting is well done and yields some really cool weapons.The Bad
- Not all weapon parts can be combined.
- Heavy weapons parts will slow your character down.
- 4 player co-op and only 2 playable characters. Because nothing says immersion more than fighting alongside your unique character's color-swapped clone.
- There's a small delay when you jump, making jumps feel odd.
- Touching the enemy hurts you and knocks you back. Now there's an old video game sin that should've been buried in the New Mexican desert a long time ago. While it does make sense with some enemies (running into a knife or an industrial drill is not a good health plan), this seems particularly silly considering the fact that most enemies do have an attack animation.
- Critters count as enemies, meaning that touching a critter hurts your character as well. So yes, your mandrake-powered mercenaries can potentially be killed by a bunny. And there's not even a holy grenade to even the odds.
- Speaking of old video game sins that should've been buried, ♥♥♥ soon as the enemy spawn point is off-screen, the enemy will respawn. It's like you've never been there at all!
- Enemies with full frontal immunity; that is a full frontal I do not like. Whereas shielded enemies in Metal Slug would drop the shield if it took too much damage, the enemies in Mercenary Kings are pretty much invulnerable as long as the shield's up. So, as mentioned above, you can't just move past them and jumping over them is rarely an option too, meaning you'll have to wait until the expose their weak spot to attack them. And boy, they're not in a hurry to drop their defenses.
- Weapons need to be reloaded. Because why slow down the game flow if it can be brought to a grinding stop instead?
- No diagonal aiming.
- No item quickslot. In order to use an item, you'll first have to equip it, then use it. This is not only annoying when you need to use an item quickly, it renders some items such as the riot shield useless, as it takes too long to use them. And on top of that, while you've equipped an item, you can't use your gun.
- You can't buy a full stock of items, even if you can afford them. If I can carry 5 rations, why can I only buy 4?The Ugly
- As all missions of a chapter take place in the same level, you'll see the same levels over and over again.
- EVERY mission has a time limit, even gathering missions that require random loot from enemies. Why do I need a time limit when gathering materials to fix the tents? Do my oh so powerful mercenaries catch the sniffles if I don't gather them on time?
- Do you like time limits? Then you'll love boss fights, 'cause those are timed too! As soon as the boss timer runs out, the boss will run away. Get this: the big guy's got a knife your size (it's literally as big as your character) and he runs away few minutes into the fight. And although the boss escapes through a huge cave, you can't follow him. No, you'll have to fight your way through the level again to continue fighting that big chicken. And of course, no backtracking experience would've been complete without a full enemy respawn!
- Adding insult to injury, the boss timer starts running again as soon as the boss makes his appearance again. So, if you take to much time reaching the new boss area, the bugger's gone to another place.
- Be on you guard when reaching a new boss area. The boss can attack you before you even entered the area.Verdict
I really wanted to like this game, but the many, many flaws just kill it for me. Sigh. I should stop being a sucker for Paul Robertson's artwork.
If you're looking for fast-paced run&gun action like Metal Slug, don't buy this game. Go buy Metal Slug 3 instead. If you don''t mind the slower pace and the flaws mentioned above, you might want to take a look at it. Weapon crafting's good fun, and so's co-op run&gun games.