Jonathan Birkemstamm reviews Mercenary Kings: Reloaded – should you buy, wait, or avoid?
Mercenary Kings: Reloaded is a 2D side-scrolling run ‘n gun shoot ’em up game similar to the Metal Slugs and Contra series. Developed and Published by Tribute Games, released on Steam & PlayStation 4 in 2014. The Reloaded Edition was released for the Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, and Xbox One on February 6th, 2018.
CLAW has taken over a top-secret island-wide laboratory base, and the Mercenary Kings are sent in to stop them. As the most elite warriors-for-hire on Earth, you must do whatever it takes to stop CLAW. But you are not going in alone, you’ll be backed-up by a crew of rogue geniuses and experts to provide you with supplies before every mission.
Mercenary Kings: Reloaded starts off with you selecting one of four characters (two being brand new to the Reloaded Edition). You can play as King, Empress, Frigg, or a robot named C-Zar. Once you pick the character that you want to play with and after a short tutorial mission, you’ll be in the main camp. The camp is where you will craft weapons, upgrade armor, craft implants, buy banners and ornaments for your tent, select missions and start the mission you selected. Each mission can range from gathering resources (which are used to craft items), rescue people, defeat bosses, neutralize enemies and so forth. Some of the missions will have side objectives that if you complete will give you extra cash.
Cash and resources are used to buy and craft weapons, implants, upgrade armor, craft parts for your weapons, buy items and so forth. Cash can be found during a mission but is usually rewarded when completing the mission itself. Resources are found while you are playing that mission. The resources are dropped from enemies or found in boxes.
During a mission, you can also radio your camp base to supply you in the field with limited items such as C4, First Aid, or Grenades. You can also use your radio for mission information, to end the mission and fly back to base camp, or teleport to the beginning of the map. Each mission has a set timer to complete the mission, but when the time runs out you fail the mission. You will also have a limited amount of lives and when those run out the mission fails as well. If you complete the main mission objective the level will end and send you back to base camp. So if you wanted to complete any side objectives, do those first before completing the main objective.
The Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition adds two new playable characters, a new steel soldier mission, new tent banners and ornaments, and new guns and knives to craft. If you already own Mercenary Kings, the Reloaded Edition will be available to you for free.
Mercenary Kings’ graphics are well done in which it reminds me of the 8bit/16bit days, yet feels fresh and modern. The soundtrack to the game has that 8bit/16bit feel to it as well. Those repetitive soundtracks brought back memories of games I use to play a lot on the NES and SNES. I’d have to say that Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition gave me that feeling of my childhood playing Contra and the likes. If there is one thing this game does well, it is that retro gaming feel of days gone by.
Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition still has its flaws, and some are more significant than others.
Playing the game with a keyboard was horrible. I found it much more enjoyable and easier to play using a controller. Second is the repetitiveness of the missions and levels just to reach the gaming hours of over 30. You’ll be doing the same things over and over again while you play. Third the limited amount of time you have to beat a boss before it runs away and decides to pop-up somewhere else on the map. And lastly is the reloading. For some reason, reloading is like a mini-game. Press the reload button and then you have to hit it again when the bar reaches a specific color and your character will reload. Miss and you have to wait because the game penalizes you for incorrectly completing the mini-game. I don’t understand why the developers put in this feature.
Despite its flaws, Mercenary Kings: Reloaded is a fun game to play either solo or with friends. The co-op allows local split screen or online co-op with up to three other people. Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition may not be for everyone, but if a game released in modern times that was made to feel like the shoot ’em up run ‘n gun games from the past is your thing then I would recommend giving Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition a try.
Final Verdict: BUY