Up, Down, Left, Right... Noooooo, it was double Right!
Hey! There's a new (medieval) shop in town and guess what? It's YOU running it! Oh yes. Your friend Tess is giving you some nice little magical blueprints for the usual weapons, items and such from medieval times, of course, and from them, you are supposed to craft them and sell them as per your future customers' requests. These range from simple townspeople to wandering heroes. I've had the chace to have my way around this kind of aesthetically "Chicken Run" clay-like looking game and.... I had some fun! So, read on to learn about my first impressions.
The game can be played solo, obviously, but the real fun comes from playing it cooperatively with up to 4 people. Basically, I have to be honest, right from the start, the game reminded me of Team 17's Overcooked where you have to make the food ordered and deliver it scoring as much as you can in a certain period of limited time. In this, you follow the blueprints and according to each request, you have to craft the item and then take it to the counter to sell it. The game judges your performance by the sales and mistakes made by you then awards Bronze, Silver or Gold at the end of the level, of course.
At start you begin with very simple blueprints for items like rods or pots, only requiring 1 or two steps to crafting them but as you progress, you start getting much more complex items to make. And although you can memorize them pretty quickly, sometimes in the midst of chaos you can mix them up, but there's always the precious recipe book to help you.
As the item is made, it has to be taken to the counter to conclude the sale and you are prompted with a button combination. Get it right: get a bonus, get it wrong: yeah, you guessed it. As with the items, these prompts get more complex as you progress. Also, sometimes you have to deal with customers that want to barter. Don't set the price too high or you can lose a nice tip and your score multiplier goes down.
Every few levels or so you are faced with this sort of boss level where you have to craft a more special item. Customers come in anyway and if you fulfil their requests you get a time bonus. These can be even more chaotic than normal levels. As you beat the level, your shop is upgraded and you get more specialized working tools to make better items. This also means you will get tougher clients with less patience to wait or more annoying to barter with. Luckily, you also get some help yourself with better upgrades on yourself like shoes that can help you sprint and such.
I've had the luck to have my 2 boys to try the game out with me. Right from the start we were assigning specific roles to each other like one crafting and smelting, another at the chekout counter and so on. The thing is, as we reach higer levels, and in pure Overcooked style, the shop disposition changes and some areas just become inaccessible to some players and they have to stay there or they can throw the materials around to each other. Laughter was very frequent, but sometimes a little frustration aswell.
Merek's Market is a quick and fun little game. Not the most original one, to be honest, but sometimes we just need a quick, fun and easy game to get into and play with some friends. This seems to be one of those.
The game is scheduled to launch on September 15th on Xbox One, Playstation, Stadia and PC.
For this preview, I was graciously provided with a code for the game and I played on Xbox One S and Xbox One Series X in solo and co-op modes.