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Mercenary Kings Reloaded Edition Review: Reign

/ Feb 22nd, 2018 No Comments

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition Review

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition is a wave of nostalgia, but there’s more to it than the parts of classic games of yesteryear. With the addition of new content and refinements, the delightful run-and-shoot side-scroller ups the ante. Thanks to a lighthearted story and strong gameplay elements, Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition is hard to put down.

Down with C.L.A.W.!

Setbacks are part of life. It isn’t that setbacks happen, it is how you deal with them. When Commander Baron and C.L.A.W. took over Mandragora Island and seized the valuable Mandrake Formula, a major setback happened for the Mercenary Kings. The entire team died.

OK, this might be more than a setback, but that didn’t phase the well-trained mercenary unit.

Death is only a concern for the living, and C.L.A.W. has nothing but death coming for them. Knowing the fight isn’t over, Colonel B. Tasker and the rest of the team revived the recovered Kings using the Mandrake Formula. With another life to live, King and Empress aim to put a stop to that dumb jerk Commander Baron and every last C.L.A.W. soldier until they’ve regained Mandragora Island.

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition Review

Colonel B. Tasker has serious beard envy.

Mercenary Kings is a classic tale of good versus evil, or rather good-for-hire versus evil-for-hire. With the ability to control life and death on the table, the stakes are high. Despite such serious consequences for failure, Mercenary Kings never takes itself too seriously.

It is this humor and personality that makes the story such a delight. Through walkie communicae and off-dialogue before missions, you get to learn more about the supporting characters. It is an off-beat world with larger-than-life characters, which keeps you invested in trying to stop C.L.A.W. and regain control of Mandragora Island.

Time for Some Action

Mercenary Kings’ gameplay is predicated on one thing: go in guns blazing and kill as many C.L.A.W. dummies as you can. Well, maybe not entirely. What your objective is depends on the mission. Regardless if you’re gathering intel, freeing hostages, collecting materials or defeating elite soliders, you’ll kill a lot of C.L.A.W. goons along the way.

The core run-and-gun gameplay feels great. One of the main reasons why is the reload mechanic that rewards good timing with bullets that have a higher chance of inflicting critical damage. There are also plenty of side items to use that can help even the playing field or save your ass in a pinch. Plus, you can call down useful items during a mission a few times if you forgot something.

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition Review

Whether playing solo or with others, Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition is a lot of fun.

Platforming gets a bit wonky as you upgrade your weaponry because the heaviness of your loadout will determine how lithe you are. If you’re carrying heavy weaponry, make sure to get good at switching back and forth between gun and side items to make tricky jumps.

The game is broken down into missions and further stratified by rank. As you complete missions in a specific rank, you unlock the main story mission for that tier. You then unlock new items and a higher rank if you complete the main mission.

The higher your rank becomes, the harder the enemies and missions become. There is a good variety of missions, and when you take on higher ranked missions the increased difficulty helps test your skills further.

Mercenary Kings’ co-op aspect is cool. Turning it off and on is easy enough by talking to a friendly robot. There is a lot of upside to working with a partner(s) in a mission, especially as your tasks increase in difficulty. The only drawback is your monetary rewards get split between each member, but the trade-off is worth it to complete missions faster and being able to take on more.

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition Review

The boss fights are fun and require some nimbly shooting to best them.

The ability to craft new weapons with materials gathered during missions helps deepen the experience. There are a lot of ways in which players can change up their weaponry. Your gun is the most obvious and robust way to change things up. The amount of customization options for your gun is staggering. By changing the barrel, clip and ammunition you use, you’re able to create a gun to suit your playstyle or simply to have more firepower.

Whether you’re buying new gun parts from Lawless, new mods from Dr. Bluebell, or a badass new knife from Ironside, you can guarantee the next mission you take on will play much differently than the last. Tinkering around with different loadouts is a ton of fun, and gathering materials to craft new upgrades adds replay value to the game.


Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition is a great update to an already strong game. The new additions and refinements make it even more playable and enjoyable. This feels like what the game should have been back in 2014. The Switch version also has the bonus of being portable so you can fight C.L.A.W. on the go.

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition benefits greatly from its two new characters and more weapons, but the core gameplay remains the same fun homage to Metal Slug except more refined.


Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition’s sprite animation is bursting with personality, col


The chiptune soundtrack is fantastic.


The story is a lot of fun with a colorful cast of characters and a ton of humor.