Tribute Games Inc. may not be an enthusiast household name but their resume includes Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Wizorb. One criticism of Scott Pilgrim, until an update in the fall of 2013, was the lack of online play. Tribute Games’ latest effort, Mercenary Kings, does not have this issue. Mercenary Kings looks like a run ‘n’ gun game similar to the Metal Slug series. However the guns and side scrolling movement are where the similarities end.
Mercenary Kings may have shoot ‘em up influences but the level of customization and RPG elements set it apart. When the game begins you go through a brief forest area to find your camp. Once there, you can change your appearance, craft weapons, armor, health items, mods and most importantly; take on new missions.
While you can pick up money during mission, building your character out also requires resources. Wood, leather, tungsten, copper and steel are just a few of the resources you will need for mission objectives or for weapon, mod and health upgrades. There are even members of your group that won’t be in the camp until you’ve rescued them from behind enemy lines.
The gameplay in Mercenary Kings is pretty straight forward. You can move and shoot in 4 cardinal directions in addition to jumping and falling to platforms below. Within the missions soldiers of various types, drones, large bosses and wildlife can damage you quickly if you’re not careful. Killing some animals can produce pelts that are also useful for crafting items.
Mercenary Kings has a very familiar look. While this might throw some people off I was surprised by how difficult the beginning of the game could be. Sticking with it becomes very rewarding as there are 100 levels and tons of ways to set you merc apart. Metal Slug with dress up and weapon crafting is a combination I didn’t know I wanted, until now.
Recommendation: Worth a buy*
Full Disclosure: This game was provided to GameEnthus by a PR firm on behalf of the developer.
Genre: action platformer, run and gun with RPG elements
Developer: Tribute Games Inc.
Publisher: Tribute Games Inc.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Mac
Worth a buy – paying full price for fans of the series or genre makes sense
Worth a buy on sale – not quite full price worthy
Rent – rent before buying
No – borrow it if you must play it
Please no – Don’t waste any time and/or money on it