Metal Slug Tactics is Poised to Be Your Next Warfare Obsession

Metal Slug Tactics Preview

Kings of the arcade, SNK has created several iconic titles that have dominated coin-operated machines throughout the 80s and 90s. The side-scrolling shooter, Metal Slug, is one of the most beloved titles from the era. With its wonderful cartoon aesthetic and addictive gameplay, each entry in the long-running series is considered a classic in the run-and-gun genre. In a surprising move, the Japanese giants have gone in a new direction for the latest release in the franchise. Throwing out the bullet-hell gameplay for tactical combat, will the drastic change breathe new life into the franchise?

After a short tutorial, you are thrown into the battlefield to overcome your adversary in an addictive die-and-retry roguelike tactical adventure. With a set number of missions to complete prior to the arrival of the gunship boss, you can select which objectives to tackle and gain rewards for doing so. Missions are conventional with most evolving around killing several enemies but some vary, requiring you to either reach a particular location or survive several rounds. Side objectives add incentives to complete the task in a particular way. Doing so rewards you with items or money to spend in the store. Although typical, due to the nuanced gameplay, each fight is a thrill and fosters an addictive loop that will keep you hooked.

Prepare For Battle

On the battlefield, you control three characters that differ due to their load out. Some can throw grenades to create powerful explosions that cause damage in four directions whereas others can shoot in a straight line to hit foes across the map. Your options differ as you progress and gain access to new abilities and mods that alter your approach to combat. After completing a mission, you can select which skill you want which adds a new tactical layer to your next mission.

Positioning is key in each battle. You must use the environment to ensure your safety by hiding behind cover and out of attack range. There is also verticality to consider, as certain enemies will strike from above and require you to venture upwards to eradicate the problem. A wonderful mechanic that separates Metal Slug Tactics from others is the ability to sync with your teammates. If you position your characters correctly, your team will join in adding further damage when triggering an attack. This means you can take out foes quickly which can help you complete side objectives to gain extra rewards.

Synonymous with the franchise, tanks are also in the game. Certain missions will allow you to jump in one and deliver huge damage to the opposition. Adding further variety, you will also encounter cranes and other interactive elements which can also be used as a method of attack. This means you will begin to scour the small, compact maps to build a plan before the battle begins.

Let’s Go Again!

After each run, you will be able to visit the shop to unlock new load-outs and more. This means that you gradually become stronger as additional options become available. In the preview, you unlock a new character and difficulty option once you complete the first area. This adds to the addictive loop giving you more reason to jump back into battle.

The overall presentation perfectly captures the arcade aesthetic in an authentic manner. This helps to anchor the game in the universe and creates a seamless transition between genres. Each character is full of personality due to the exaggerated cartoon design which helps to differentiate the game from its peers. It looks wonderful but I did encounter the odd frame-rate drop in larger battles.

Metal Slug Tactics is shaping up to be a tremendous tactical adventure. The roguelike structure adds an addictive element which adds further incentive to retry missions. With its varied maps, abilities that alter each run and stunning visuals, this is sure to hit the target when it releases on PC and all consoles by the end of the year

***A preview Steam code provided by the publisher***