Metal Slug iOS Review
Overall 8

Punishing gameplay, detailed sprites, and arcade aesthetics are three things you would not normally associate with mobile gaming, but SNK Playmore hopes to prove everybody wrong with an iOS and Android port of the run-n-gun classic Metal Slug. Is this a faithful rendition, or has this time-honored warrior seen one too many battles?

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Metal Slug iOS Review

Punishing gameplay, detailed sprites, and arcade aesthetics are three things you would not normally associate with mobile gaming, but SNK Playmore hopes to prove everybody wrong with an iOS and Android port of the run-n-gun classic Metal Slug. Is this a faithful rendition, or has this time-honored warrior seen one too many battles?

Those unfamiliar with Metal Slug or its sequels can pick up on the fundamentals with its handy tutorial before each playthrough. Shoot enemy soldiers, save the POWs, and drive a big tank. Its three-button setup is simple in its design, but making to the end of each of the six stages is anything but. With heroes Marco and Tarma dying a single bullet, one’s death tally can rise quite quickly. The game is no pushover (even on easy with 20 credits), but its methodical style of play and emphasis on pattern recognition makes things fair.

Unfortunately, the pinpoint precision necessary for victory becomes that much tougher when using a touchscreen. Custom interface mapping alleviates the pain, but expect a somewhat steeper difficulty curve than that of playing on an arcade cabinet.

Thankfully, everything else that made Metal Slug so great in arcades is also here in fine form. Every pixel and frame is present accounted for, and even blood is included. Slowdown is virtually nonexistent, and customizable scan lines, filters, and aspect ratios help make things look even better.

A number of bells and whistles were also included to this iteration of Metal Slug. The inclusion of achievements via Game Center support is a nice touch, and co-op play through Bluetooth proves that mowing down soldiers is more fun with a bud. It’s also nice to jump into any mission after you’ve completed it in the arcade mode, but more varied objectives would have given this port more legs.

This portable version of Metal Slug proves that ports can be faithful to their source material without sacrificing much content. At less than $5, you’ll save more money with this port than its quarter-hungry arcade cousin.

One of the best arcades games can now fit in your pocket

This review was written using the iPad version of Metal Slug iOS.