Metal Slug Defense!

Metal Slug Defense is a spinoff game of the immensely popular arcade game Metal Slug. Released by SNK Playmore for the Android and iOS as a defense/strategy game, fans and new players are treated to a different kind of battle not before seen in a Metal Slug game. Returning fans of the series will enjoy over 100 nostalgic background stages, re-created from various classic Metal Slug titles. The game also features over 60 different characters and units which players can progressively unlock to help them overpower their enemies.

MSD breaks away from the side-scrolling arcade shooter it was known for. In this game, your objective is to reach the enemy base in the far side of the screen and destroy it with your units. At the same time, the mission will fail if enemy forces overpower your units, reach your base and destroy it. You can purchase different units by spending AP, which automatically recovers over time. Every unit has their own unique ability which can turn the tide of battle against various enemies. You can manually activate their abilities after they cooled down but you can't control their movement. Your units will keep on walking to the right until they reach the base and will only stop when they're firing their weapons or using their abilities. You'll also get the Metal Slug (Special) Attack which can be unleashed to mow down hordes of enemies or heavily damage a boss or enemy vehicle. This attack will become available as you kill enemies with your ordinary units. Basically, winning a mission will depend on how fast you can create units, how you time to use their abilities and the number of units you can deploy to push back the enemies and overwhelm them.

The game's mechanic may sound simple but it actually requires a combination of strategy, timing and proper team composition. Since you have to rely on numbers to overwhelm the enemy forces, you'll also need to properly monitor your flow of units to avoid losing your momentum as you push to the right side of the screen. Your AP recovers automatically but you can upgrade your AP level (by tapping the supply girl in the lower left of the screen) to increase your max AP and also speed up the AP recovery process. There are also hidden bonuses and prisoners found in each map that can be revealed by shooting the exact spot where they're hidden. These range from helpful AP boosts, additional credits or hidden prisoners.

You can have up to 10 units at a time and you can re-arrange their positions so you can access the essential ones quickly (since the screen only displays 5 units at a time). You can use your credits to upgrade your units individually (up to LV10) and also use that to upgrade your abilities as the commander. You'll also start off with an ordinary soldier who can lob a grenade as its ability and a worker that can set up a sandbag to protect your unit from enemy fire. Later on, you'll get more potent units like the series' heroes/ heroines and their signature weapons or the titular Metal Slug vehicle to bolster your forces. More powerful units are available for purchase in the game's in-game shop in exchange of Medals. Medals can be acquired as Daily Login bonuses, mission rewards, doing the Earn Medal tasks, or given by the developer during special events. Otherwise, you can purchase medals using real money as a micro-transaction.

The number of missions you can do is determined by your max AP (not to be confused with the active AP that runs during missions). AP regenerates over time (in quite fast pace since you can fully recover your AP in around an hour or so) and each mission have different AP requirements. AP is used immediately as soon as you start the mission. You'll waste AP in case you fail the mission but you can get a few AP back by successfully completing it.

One thing to note is that the game is grinding friendly. You can keep completing the same mission over and over again and still receive the same amount of credits. Even after failing, you'll still receive a small amount of credit as consolation. MSD also offers Time Attack missions where you'll use a fixed set of units in a pre-selected stage. Competitive players can also participate in the game's "WiFi Versus" feature. (You have to sign in to Google Play and use WiFI connection to use this feature). The game offers a lot of missions as well as event/ special missions or alerts that appear randomly each day.

The game's visuals are great and it retains the series' original graphics. The visual effects are perfect and humorous as the developers intended them to be. The game uses the same character sprites and sound effects that gives MSD the same "homey" feeling for fans of the series. The game also recycles the same sound effects used in the previous installments of the series but that's not a bad thing. There's really nothing much to improve or complain about the visual and audio aspects of the game as it is already perfect the way it is.

Since MSD is made by the same developer and publisher of the acclaimed series, there are absolutely no ads in this free-to-play title. It doesn't need constant internet connection as well except when you're doing micro-transactions or fighting other players over WiFi Versus, perfect for playing the game whenever you feel like it. The game encourages old-school grinding and rewards players fairly for their hard work. However, some of the missions may prove to be challenging for normal / default units so getting one of those premium Medal units will prove useful. This is the only aspect where paying players can take advantage of: getting advanced fasters than those who rely on meager ways to obtain medals.

Overall, the game offers hours and hours of fun at no cost at all. If you're either a fan of the series or just someone who loves to play casual strategy/defense titles once in while, you should get MSD.

4.3 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Sep 3rd 2014

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