Mercenary Kings - PlayStation 4

Release Date:

02 April 2014

Also on:

PS4 PC

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
7.3

Summary:

Mercenary Kings was developed by Tribute Games for release on the PlayStation 4. Tribute Kings is another independent game developer trying to make their name with 2D side-scrolling retro products. Emulating some of the classic side-scrolling fighters of our youth, like Metal Slug or Contra, Mercenary Kings attempts to bring gamers back in time. Both trying to be a clone and an improvement leaves us hopeful that the team at Tribute Games got the formula right.

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Posted:
2015-07-23

Den_Merry

Writer

PS4

7.3

Mercenary Kings was developed by Tribute Games for release on the PlayStation 4. Tribute Kings is another independent game developer trying to make their name with 2D side-scrolling retro products. Emulating some of the classic side-scrolling fighters of our youth, like Metal Slug or Contra, Mercenary Kings attempts to bring gamers back in time. Both trying to be a clone and an improvement leaves us hopeful that the team at Tribute Games got the formula right. The pixelated graphics and the music choices all made us excited while watching the trailers. Now we just have to pick up our PS4 controller and dive in to see if it was all worth it. Keep on reading to find out if Mercenary Kings is another noble or just a fraud to the throne.

Merely looking at the screenshots for Mercenary Kings will bring back gamers from the 80’s and 90’s to their nostalgia days. Loaded with retro graphics, sounds, and shooting gameplay elements, Mercenary Kings has not just tried to emulate the past it has tried to embrace it full stop. The core of the title is simple. You play as a group called the Mercenary Kings. The Kings are warriors who were brought back to life and given bionic abilities in order to take their vengeance on an evil madman by the name of CLAW who has taken over a tropical island. You will fight through CLAW and his army of spritely baddies with several dozen different weapons, a side of crafting ability, and a multi directional approach to what was hitherto known as a side-scrolling game.

Starting out in Mercenary Kings will have you run through a pretty basic tutorial. You’ll learn the ins and outs of movement and the game will show you that you can go in a ton of directions, you are not just pushing left to right. You’ll also learn how to fire your weapons and interact with the environment. After this short tutorial you will be dropped in base camp. This is where you go in between your missions and it is here that you do general character maintenance. Restock your items, add new weapons, and install new bionic powers to your 2D avatar. Keep your base camp stocked by staying aware for materials while in the field. Destroyable crates and item drops from dead enemies are the way that you keep your resources on the up and up, and you’ll need them as the game stretches over 100 levels.

In the game you begin with a simple slow shooting pistol. As you play through the game you’ll begin to unlock the ability to craft new customizable guns and knives. Crafting leads to a ton of fun new inventions. You can swap out different parts from different guns in order to create a hybrid weapon with its own unique abilities. Mix an SMG and a rocket launcher to get a high powered, fast paced explosive gun. Mix your rifle and shotgun together to get another quirky and effective hybrid. These are simple mixes and the more you rank up the more you have access to. Eventually you’ll be incorporating ammo that creates status effects, like incendiary rounds, and so on.

Crafting, sort of like in Terraria, adds a surprise twist to what could have been a rather vanilla gaming experience. Crafting is all the rage, especially in indie gaming, but it doesn’t get too out of hand here. The crafting section feels natural and fits in well with the rest of the title and it is also where we spent most of our time. Putting together the right weapon combo just feels great once you take it into battle.

Missions are the life blood of Mercenary Kings and there are quite a few of them. In order to earn loot and upgrade your troops you need to take as many missions as possible. These missions will have a list of tasks that you have to accomplish that range from freeing prisoners to stealing crafting materials, all the way to hunting down certain enemies and bosses. These quests will push you to utilize every skill you’ve learned in the platforming genre as you’ll have to jump, climb, fight, fall, and ladder your way through multi directional, sprawling maps. Jumping is limited, by the way, depending on how heavy your gun is. So there are perks to using lighter weaponry. It’s a cool little physics based add on to what is otherwise a pretty unrealistic (haha) game.

The art direction definitely brings us back to the Super Nintendo but the HD capabilities of the PS4 show off fine textures that you would have never come close to back on your old school fat paneled monitors. The developers of the Scott Pilgrim game worked on Mercenary Kings and you can definitely see that in the way the characters are created and how they are animated. The high colored visuals are definitely a high point for the title.

In any SHMUP you want your enemies to be numerous and you want them to be diverse. Mercenary Kings gives gamers a whole array of enemies that range from solitary snipers all the way to metal shield wielding menaces. There are guys with long stabbing weapons, revolvers, giant robot snails and so much more. The firefights in the game are appropriately chunky and you feel every hit that you make and every explosion that happens as a response. It is simple and it is wonderful, at least at first.

As we said, there are 100 missions for you to work for and they begin to get tiring probably a third the way through the game. The different tasks you can take on are fairly limited and there are only so many times you want to go on the same old mission. Or awhile the game is easy so the repetition isn’t noticeable but as the game gets harder, frustration will start to wear.

Mercenary Kings is a solid entry into the indie game dev market and one that most side-scrolling retro fans need to play.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
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Jun 14, 2015
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Tribute Games

Release Date:

02/04/2014

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