Metal Slug is a Neo Geo (SNK based Arcade) game first released in April 1996, back when 16-bit wasn’t fashionable, it was all we had. At the time of its release, the graphics on Metal Slug were as revered as Unreal Engine 4‘s 4k resolution demos today. The gameplay options were limited to top-down or side-scrollers, Metal Slug fell in the latter category being a run and gun game. Metal Slug brought an element of superior animation, violence, gore, a myriad of characters all layered with an element of serious goofiness that it became an instant classic. To this day, there are new games being released and old ones being rereleased (and equally appreciated) on virtually every platform. In order to confine to the realm of mobile gaming, SNK have released Metal Slug Defense available on iOS and Android for free. Let us take a look at how it fares in the new age.
Metal Slug Defense is a castle defense game with the added benefit of being set in the Metal Slug universe. You face off against your opponent sitting at the other end of the screen. You are given an energy bar which dictates the level and frequency of units that you can release. There are two currencies, the easily earned gold tickets and the in-app purchase of medals. Medals tend to unlock just about everything from units to base upgrades while golden tickets are used for minor purchases.
The game is missing the classic Metal Slug shoot-everything-that-moves aspect, instead it gives you a limited control over the units you release, each with a unique function, all of whom have a unified goal of wiping out the enemy, plain and simple. The single player missions are very easy; they need to be for new players to get an idea about how to best navigate the game. You are given an AP bar (upgradeable) that dictates the amount of energy you have to deploy units. Your goal is to save your base from being destroyed while annihilating the opponent’s base completely and utterly. As the single player missions progress, you are given a myriad of evolving foes and bases to overcome. There are daily login rewards as well as accomplishments to unlock. Additionally, there is a WiFi mode to play with your friends and family, which is where the entirety of fun will be.
There isn’t much of a story to begin with, though as a nod to the classic Arcade style of story telling, you are introduced with a scrolling text over an image of your characters. You can speed it up by touching the screen since it has literally no impact on the game itself (also very much like classic arcade games).
Graphics & Sound
Keeping true to the nature of Metal Slug, nothing has been modified or changed to alienate the core fan-base, fortunately with the now overused 16-bit graphics boom in the mobile gaming market, Metal Slug is right at home with nothing to lose and much to offer as they have been doing it long enough to know how to make the best of this medium. Though it may just be nitpicking, the menus were also designed to focus on the 16-bit origins of the game but they seem to have focused less on the menus than the actual game, leaving users with an uninspired experience. The sound was stable, crisp, with the classic music playing, if you have played Metal Slug in the arcade era, you might just be transported back in time.
This is a fun and possibly addictive game, there is tremendous replay value, especially in multiplayer over WiFi mode (if you have willing participants), the game is free to play and definitely worth trying at least once, just struggle through the wordy tutorials and you’ll be ready to blow up NPCs in no time. I’m going to continue playing this game even after the review is concluded.