Metal Slug Tactics brings the classic franchise back as a turn-based tactical RPG

SNK fans had something to rejoice about during Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest 2021 as Metal Slug returned as a tactical strategy game.


Metal Slug is a beautifully beloved franchise among the long and storied library of SNK arcade classics, but we haven’t seen it in quite a while. That drought is about to come to an end in a very curious way. The franchise is making a return under Dotemu and Leikir Studios in an all-new turn-based tactical RPG: Metal Slug Tactics.

We got our first look at Metal Slug Tactics during the Summer Game Fest showcase on June 10, 2021, complete with a new trailer. In association with SNK, Metal Slug Tactics looks like it bleeds the proper aesthetic of Metal Slug in a new isometric tactical turn-based RPG style. Players will use familiar Metal Slug fighters Marco, Eri, Fio, and Tarma as the intrepid squad uses pistols, grenades, machine guns, armored vehicles, air strikes, and more to absolutely annihilate enemy forces and save prisoners in turn-based strategic combat.

The sheer drip of style shown in gameplay segments of Metal Slug Tactics was readily available from the get-go between the stylish animation of the trailer. It looks like we’ll be able to utilize all sorts of fun mechanics. There will be destructive environments like bridges, which can be damaged enough that they’ll collapse and severely damage anything caught underneath them. There will also be things like Sync, in which your combatants will be able to link up their abilities to focus down foes in various ways in with powerful team attacks. Finally, we saw various forms of elevation in this game not confined to things like bridges. There was a part where we saw Marco run along the rooftops of a building to toss a grenade at a foe on an adjacent building’s rooftop.

With so much arcade nostalgia returning in an all-new and cool way, Metal Slug Tactics is looking like an experience no fan of the franchise can afford to miss. We don’t have a release date yet, but stay tuned as we await further details from Dotemu and Leikir Studio in the hopefully near future. Be sure to check out the game and wishlist it on Steam as well.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      June 10, 2021 12:22 PM

      I'm not sure it's possible to miss the point of the Metal Slug franchise any harder than this.

      I mean it looks ok and the trailer is ok but it comes across like one of those parodies of anime except I think they're being entirely sincere about it

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        June 10, 2021 12:36 PM

        It's DotEmu, whom I trust. I like turn-based tactical games, so I'm interested in this.

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        June 10, 2021 2:00 PM

        What do you just want another Metal Slug game? There's a crapload of those already. Boring! This looks like a perfect conceptual branch for the style of Metal Slug IMO. One of the more exciting things shown at the thingie today.

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        June 10, 2021 2:04 PM

        I think it's fair to say it's jarring if you hear Metal Slug and see this. It's so vastly different from that usual style.

        But yeah, it's also Dotemu and they have a pretty impeccable track record with Windjammers, Streets of Rage 4, and the upcoming TMNT, not to mention SNK's blessing here. If you focus on the gameplay, I think it nails down the visual aesthetic and is a really interesting take on all of the iconic elements of the shmup! I'm really interested to see more.

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          June 10, 2021 2:10 PM

          That’s fair. I guess I’m just jaded from the handful of times SNK has tried to do something with Metal Slug and completely missed the mark.

          Like that PS2 game that was such a dud it never left Japan

          Or the weird F2P mobile games they’ve done with it.

          Which come to think of it I thought this Tactics game was going to be a F2P mobile thing at first. Not sure why.

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        June 10, 2021 2:37 PM

        I would have thought the same about Gears of War but Gears Tactics was great.

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      June 10, 2021 1:59 PM

      Lot of folks are going to be talking about this today! :)

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