The 50 Best Game Series on iOS: Metal Slug

How many arcade-goers have stopped by a Metal Slug cabinet, astonished by the game’s vivid animation and expressive characters? Metal Slug was always an eye-catching series in arcades, but now this shoot ‘em up is also available on iOS. Challenging action, creative bosses and enemies, and the option of using a Bluetooth controller for added finesse make Metal Slug on iOS a Must Have series.

Metal Slug

The original Metal Slug set the stage for much bigger action later in the series. The original concept is that you play as a soldier who has to single-handedly (or with the help of a second player) destroy an evil army, who vaguely resemble the Axis powers from World War II. In addition to the unique art style, which is more cartoon-like than realistic, Metal Slug introduced the squat, controllable tanks that the series is named after. The iOS version of Metal Slug offers plenty of extra lives and continues, but it’s a shorter game than the sequels, with slightly less replay value.

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Key Quote: “Metal Slug 1 still has outstanding graphics and animation, even though it’s nearly 20 years old, and the iCade compatibility and Bluetooth multiplayer make this installment a worthwhile purchase if you’re trying to turn your iOS device into a legitimate arcade emulator.”

Metal Slug 2

In Metal Slug 2, some of the series’ most enjoyable new features were introduced. If you gorge on fruit, for example, your character instantly becomes chubby, with oversized bullets and a fork melee attack. The backgrounds and environments are more varied as well, starting with a desert bazaar containing some questionable Middle Eastern stereotypes. While it’s great to own the first two games in the series to get a sense of its overall progression, we think this was all just building up to the masterpiece that is Metal Slug 3.

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Key Quote: “Metal Slug 2 is more varied and interesting than Metal Slug 1, which was a straightforward wartime shooter with above-average animation. It’s also not quite as fun as Metal Slug 3, which includes branching pathways and a higher degree of challenge, since you’re given fewer continues.”

Metal Slug 3

The Metal Slug games were released out of order on iOS, so the first App Store release was the third game in the series. It’s a good thing, too– Metal Slug 3 is easily one of the most varied and expansive shooters you can buy. New enemies, from giant crabs to infected zombies, are stuffed in every level. One moment you might be piloting a submarine, and the next rocketing through space. Metal Slug 3 limits your amount of continues, so it helps to have an iCade Bluetooth joystick for precise movement controls.

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Key Quote: “It’s a gorgeous, lighthearted shooter with a delirious sense of humor. Your character is constantly threatened by enemy soldiers, giant crabs, submarines, space aliens, zombies, mummies, man-eating plants, killer robots, and many more remarkable and unique enemies.”

Tomorrow, we’ll feature Bulkypix’s amazing retro-style action games, Pix’n Love Rush and Pix’n Love Rush DX.

This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.