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Metal Slug Tactics Review (Demo) | Turn-Based Guerilla Tactics Meets Roguelike Arcade!

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Metal Slug Tactics marks the return of the nostalgic arcade side scrolling shooter as a turn based tactics roguelike! Read on to learn everything we know, our review of the demo, and more.

Everything We Know About Metal Slug Tactics

Metal Slug Tactics Plot

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After years of hiding in enemy territory, the devious general, Donald Morden, returns with the army that he’s been building in secret. Now the battle-hardened PF (Peregrine Falcon) Squad is tasked with infiltrating enemy lines and taking down Morden before the war escalates to an unprecedented scale!

Metal Slug Tactics Gameplay

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Metal Slug Tactics embraces its arcade roots while rebranding itself into a turn-based strategy by making it a roguelike! Assemble your squad with the original Peregrine Falcon crew, namely Marco, Eri, Fio, and more! Customize your loadouts to change up the kit of each member while creating synergies that you can play around with to have the most success.

The game plays similarly to games like Into the Breach and Persona 5 Tactica, where battles are akin to puzzles where you have to find ways to get the most damage out of your team. With your team being only limited to three characters, the enemy forces easily outnumber your squad. This means that you’ll have to be creative with the game’s mechanics to circumvent this disadvantage.

Metal Slug Tactics Release Date

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Metal Slug Tactics will be released in Q4 2024 for PC(Steam), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. The game's playable demo is also available now on PC (Steam)!

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Metal Slug Tactics Review (Demo)

The Peregrine Falcons Have Finally Arrived!

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When the game was originally announced back in 2021, I was definitely excited to rediscover the Metal Slug series again! The sheer nostalgia, memorable characters, and voice lines were enough to convince me to keep a lookout for this game. However, there was only silence for the next few years. So imagine my surprise when the game resurfaces with a new trailer and an actual tentative release date! I’m glad I held out hope because the game absolutely still looks great and the nostalgic audio makes it all sweeter.

For Steam Next Fest, the game has a playable demo which I got to try out, and I have to say that the gameplay is very familiar and will have you wracking your brain with how to use your team’s strengths to an optimal level. The game’s mechanics and resources have a great foundation for how you use them to your advantage, but it may take a few runs for you to understand how it works.

SYNC Up and Move to Cover!

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The game has a mechanic called SYNC Attack where if your characters are in the same line and in range to attack a target, they will attempt to attack the targeted enemy. You’ll have to find ways to abuse this mechanic to maximize damage with the limited number of characters and actions that you have.

Some characters like Eri have passive abilities that grant them an extra move turn after executing an SYNC attack. Also, take note that moving for a SYNC attack doesn’t take your action! This means that with the right setup and placement, you can potentially do a lot of damage in a single turn!

The cover system is kind of wonky in my opinion, as there are actually just designated spaces in the stage that grant you cover instead of being a positional aspect. Nevertheless, the cover system is there to give you additional damage resistance for your already frail characters, which is also a callback to the mainline Metal Slug games where the characters die in one hit.

Random Missions and Difficulty

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There were a couple of runs where, going into the stage, it already seemed like it was unwinnable. Admittedly, this might mainly be a skill issue on my part, but, the odds really are ALWAYS stacked against you, with some stages more than others. Entering a stage with only three characters against an army of grunts is still pretty hard to deal with.

With this difficulty comes a great advantage, however. Each mission is different! New runs are always different from the last. With several different objectives, such as surviving for x number of turns, destroying a specific target, and even escorting an NPC to their destination, the game will always give you a new perspective with each run!

Progression and Roguelike Mechanics

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While the random missions are enough to already make it a roguelike, the progression system during a run is also a roguelike element in itself! Leveling a unit after completing a mission will have you choose a pool of random abilities and weapon enhancements. This might have you leaning into certain archetypes for the characters in your team and even giving them new tools to supplement their strengths.

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Overall, the game is actually quite polished, in my opinion. Just a little more refinement with the game’s tutorial and maybe even more tutorials to teach players the intricacies of the game. Specifically, it’d be good to have tutorials on how to use SYNC attacks and the passives and exclusive actions of each character to your advantage. I can imagine it working similar to gacha games, where there are trial missions for a character to get to know how they work.

Regardless, Metal Slug Tactics is a game I’m excited to play later this year, and I absolutely can’t wait.

Metal Slug Tactics Trailer

Gameplay Trailer

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