The latest and greatest 3D AAA titles are great, but sometimes, we could all use a couple of hours to sit down and play a retro-style indie game. We can get caught up in the retro pixel art, the old-school 2D platforming, and of course we shouldn’t forget how difficult those old games were. Oh my god now I remember why my friends didn’t let me play Contra with them.

The fight for Mandragora Island carries on in this reloaded edition of the frantic 2D action game! The battle against the fearsome forces of CLAW continues but now, two BRAND NEW playable recruits have joined the world’s most skilled team of warriors-for-hire! With robotic helper C-Zar and the Resistance’s most powerful fighter, Frigg, Commander Baron’s troops don’t stand a chance!

In this upgraded edition of Mercenary Kings, players can take the commands of a mecha-armor in a BRAND NEW Steel Soldier Mission! You can craft 20 NEW weapons! The Kings have never been more powerful!

Whether you head into a solo mission or gather your crew, the days of CLAW are numbered!

Disclaimer: This game was provided free of charge. The free copy, however, did not influence, in any way, the opinions stated in this review.


Speaking of Contra, Mercenary Kings Reloaded reminds me so much of that classic tough-as-nails run and gun shooter. Old-school graphics, side scrolling action, and guns. But this is a completely different monster.

You start off in a camp/hub area where you talk to various people, pick out the right gear, and upgrade your guns and armor. The hub area is also where you pick out your missions, and off you go. The missions make you venture through jungles, industrial complexes, war-torn cities, and other things. You’ll be facing a gauntlet of enemies, so it’s great that you’ll be packing serious heat with a large assortment of weapons. The gameplay, on the surface, is like Contra, but Mercenary Kings, surprisingly, plays more like Monster Hunter with the hub area and picking missions with the intention of moving the story forward.

I’ll be honest: this game is tough as nails and pushed me to rage quit multiple times. There are a number of missions that I haven’t even cleared, and I’ve sworn off this game multiple times only to pick it up again.

So, should you pick it up? If you’re looking for a brand-new take on the old side-scrolling shooter, sure. Be prepared to throw your controller in frustration at various points, but ultimately have fun in the end. Mercenary Kings Reloaded Edition is fun, tough, and surprisingly deep with unexpected RPG elements.

You can get Mercenary Kings Reloaded Editionfor the Nintendo Switch on the Nintendo eShop