It’s no secret how I feel about co-op games. For myself, no experience can top the thrill of grabbing a few friends to match wits against a well crafted game. I get to satisfy my competitive side without dealing with obnoxious opponents who will seek any advantage at the expense of fun. It’s a win-win! I will always champion the team experience over all, and I will not apologize for that. It’s who I am, and it is what I enjoy most. Don’t get me wrong. I love a great single player experience, and I enjoy some competitive experiences as well. But nothing tops the crew vs the CPU.
In my youth, most gaming experiences were shared with friends. We even made co-op experiences out of single player games back then. Couldn’t pass a level on the game of the moment? Pass the controller to a friend and let them have a shot. We would work our way through games as a team, each player encouraging the next. All games weren’t played in this manner, but a great deal were. Coming from a background like that makes it a little easier to understand why I naturally lean towards games that breed this type of environment. The subject of this post, Mercenary Kings, gives me that vibe. And I’m excited.
Mercenary Kings is the creation of the good folks at Tribute Games. If that name is familiar, you’ve probably played their adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs The World. The game embraced the spirit of great co-op experiences. Think back to some of the arcade games we mentioned in our last podcast (shameless plug). X-Men, The Simpsons, TMNT. Even more recent examples such as Castle Crashers and Dungeon Defenders come to mind. Scott Pilgrim was the latest in quality co-op a couple of years ago, and Mercenary Kings is looking to up the ante.
MK has been compared to a few games ever since it was announced. It’s very easy to see why it has been compared to Metal Slug and Contra. The less obvious comparisons would be Borderlands and Monster Hunter. In the video above, you can see the art style and game play is very similar to Metal Slug and Contra. The Borderlands and Monster Hunter comparisons allude to the loot based system and gun customization options. You can create hundreds of different guns by using different parts, giving this 2D shooter a decidedly RPG heavy feel.
I feel like this game is a perfect fusion of old school game play and new school game design. Games such as Contra and Metal Slug were super popular in past generations, and creating a game in that vein makes sense. Adding a crafting system and drowning the game in guns is a great touch, and the fact that 4 people can share the fun is fantastic. I can’t wait to give it a spin next month when it is released. I hope to be able to play with some of you. See ya later!