Old gamers will know one of these SNK franchises, Metal Slug. Starting from arcade cabinets, consoles to handhelds, this 2D side-scrolling shooter series has stopped. Even from 2012, SNK Playmore still maintains its pixelated graphics for the umpteenth remake of Metal Slug from the first to the third, as well as the remake plus upgrade from Metal Slug 2 in the form of Metal Slug X, available for mobile platforms via iOS and Android.
Now the game, which in its time together with Konami’s side-scrolling shooter, namely Contra, is so popular, it is getting a new incarnation in the form of a mechanical combination of tower defense and strategy through Metal Slug Defense which was released yesterday for iOS and Android. How can an action shooter game with active characters be applied to a tower defense that demands a slower rhythm of gameplay?
Before seeing what the new Metal Slug series will look like specifically for the mobile platform, I can’t help thinking. However, when we read that SNK Playmore offers it as a freemium game, aka free-to-play, we can only understand it a little. If you pay attention, a typical free game will give players more freedom, at least to think clearly, before deciding to buy the in-app purchase item offered. And maybe with the intense action that we are familiar with from the classic series, it will be less suitable to be applied in a free-to-play concept.
Although the game pattern will change, what makes an old gamer feel like playing his classic game back is the retro look of Metal Slug Defense. The action of the characters we usually judge is a bit harsh, there are large tanks, everything is still felt here, only their movements are made with a pattern that prioritizes strategy.
It’s not like before when characters were free to move, stab with a knife and shoot anything that moved blindly, now everything is more regulated, with a slow rhythm. To move, this time requires an action point, then with these points you can order the soldier either to stab and shoot anything that moves. In addition to attack units, this time you also have to think about action points for defense units, which are supported by defensive units, by building a barrier that prevents the enemy from advancing to the base that must be defended. Units also have special attacks, which can be used when their bodies light up blue, and boss battles that are so memorable from the classic game are still found here, although how we deal with them is also limited to action points and moves that require more strategy.
There are two camps fighting here, namely Regulars and Rebel Army. You control Regulars who have special units. As you get further in the game, by mastering more enemy bases, you will unlock more unit options. The developer says there are more than 60 different characters and units available. There are also units that are limited, and can only be obtained by doing events that rarely occur, or require special requirements. Oh yes, each unit is free to customize and level up, and they can be pitted against other players in Online VS Battles battles via a Wi-Fi connection (which will open after you complete the tutorial mode). Your achievements in the competition will continue to be recorded, and you can see who is in the highest ranking among all Metal Slug Defense players.
And obviously, because this is a freemium game, we must be able to accept developers implementing a monetization system through in-app purchases as well as two types of currencies. Most of your battle victories will give you that which can be used to upgrade your individual units, but to buy new units, or also power-ups for them, you need Medals, which are rarely dropped by enemies in the game. And that’s when the second currency, our money in the real world plays a big role in buying these medals. The offered IAP scores range from 30 medals to 1080 medals.
Like it or not, but it is clear with the existence of the IAP, those who are so generous to SNK Playmore by buying quite a lot of medals, are sure to win very easily in player-versus-player online battles, when against players, which (conditions are reversed) indeed only depends on the generosity of the developer in providing medals throughout the game, and they do have more time to grind.
Overall, Metal Slug Defense’s mechanics are actually not bad, even the writer enjoyed it quite a bit, even though the unit’s movements weren’t like the typical tower defense highlighted from above (yes, here with a side view, the unit also moves like a side-scrolling shooter). Then both the pixelated graphics, the distinctive artwork, the music and the iconic characters of the series who appear as units, are enough to treat the old days of missing you. Then SNK Playmore’s efforts to implement Google Play Games services for the first time also deserve appreciation, so that we can get a solid multiplayer mode. It’s just that, well that was earlier, if those of you who want to play it on for free, have to be patient with grinding, and also patient to keep losing against other players who are so generous in buying the IAP offered by the developer.