ReviewsReview: Merek's Market

Review: Merek’s Market

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Village life isn’t for everyone! You know exactly what the community has been up to, and secrets are hard to keep. Then, there is the lack of amenities to contend with. If you are lucky, you’ll have a quaint pub and perhaps a village shop. Shockingly, this tiny convenience store stocks everything and it’s more surprising when your requested item is not available. Merek’s Market captures this small town mentality within its hectic action.

Developed and published by Big Village Games, this is a medieval solo and cooperative crafting title. Like the market-leading Moving Out or Overcooked, Merek’s Market relies upon teamwork and a cool demeanour to be successful.

He’s at the centre of all the action.

Merek’s Market is funny and will test your ability to plan. 

Like its peers, Merek’s Market tests your ability to plan. You must learn to best utilise the surrounding space to serve as many customers as possible. Slow work or mistakes are costly and errors will downgrade your final score. You must follow recipes, collecting the correct ingredients while using different workstations. The orders come in thick and fast and you must prioritise crafting, selling, and haggling however you see fit.

As the game progresses, Merek’s shop expands, perks are unlocked, and new blueprints for crafting are awarded. The gameplay quickly evolves from being a fun and easy to manage experience to a full-blown headache-inducing menace. You’ll contend with ill-tempered customers, faulty equipment, haggling, and special orders. It can get messy pretty quickly, but the gameplay rarely becomes tedious and you will chuckle thanks to Merek’s amusing ways.

The cutscenes and his relationship with his customers are hilarious to watch. These wonderful bits of cinematic are a welcome break from the fast-paced action, and they usually indicate a new mechanic or special event. The pace and delivery of new elements were well-thought-out and created amusing moments.

Even jesters want to haggle.

Read the clues and remember the recipes. 

Merek’s Market will get under your skin as it tests your memory at every stage. If you are happy to receive a low score and simplify matters, you can refer to the recipe book throughout. However, if you wish to speed things up and receive the highest score, you must memorise a ridiculous amount of recipes. Matters quickly get out of hand and you’ll mix incorrect ingredients, use the wrong tools, and mess up repeatedly. It was fantastic fun and this unique approach made it stand out from its peers.

A market would be soulless if you couldn’t haggle and fortunately, Merek’s Market has this covered. Customers reel off a vast amount of information regarding the item they want and the amount of money they have. You must choose what to sell them, decide on your price, and hope they agree. If they don’t, well, it’s haggling time and you have to be careful not to upset them. Like the memory element, this was equally fantastic. I loved the additional challenges it created, and I especially enjoyed kicking out time wasters.

Merek’s Market looks good, runs smoothly, and captures the medieval theme well.

This genre has progressively become a fun and polished arena that keeps improving. Merek’s Market is up there with the best titles, with its crisp and well-finished presentation. The isometric viewpoint and earthy colour palette make following the action pleasurable. The cartoon art style is what I expected, and the imagery worked well with the comical undertones. The constant supply of people and back-and-forth movements could have made it a juddery mess. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. The gameplay is smooth and even when things got out of hand; I experienced no issues.

The medieval theme continues in the fun and lively audio. The acting will win no Oscars, but I enjoyed the comical one-liners, nonetheless. The soundtrack is interesting to listen to and supports the madness perfectly. I loved the sound effects but expected them to be less realistic and to be more whimsical. This mattered not, as both the visual and audio presentations were completed to a high standard.

Couch co-op at its best.

The easiest game to play in the genre.

I’ve played and reviewed most of this genre and I was surprised by how easy this was to play. Usually, I’m concerned that the controls are clumsy or physics-based mechanics are implemented. Fortunately, neither of these things was true of Merek’s Market and it was a pleasure to play immediately. With a few buttons to memorise and a gentle learning curve, this is mastered in no time.

Thanks to its approachable gameplay, solo and cooperative action, and thorough achievement list, this has ample replay value. Fifty levels stand between you and completion, and every stage is ranked from bronze to gold. To increase longevity, the couch co-op mode has a full adventure for you to enjoy with friends. This additional section was a pleasant surprise, and I thoroughly enjoyed falling out with friends and family while serving the whole town.

Merek’s Market competes with the genre’s leading titles. 

In such a competitive marketplace, it’s hard to stand out. Luckily, Merek’s Market has done just that thanks to its unique approach and moreish gameplay. Its wonderful cartoon style, comical audio, excellent single and co-op game modes, and approachable mechanics means it competes with the genre’s leading titles. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Open a shop, craft exactly what the customer wants, and get rich in the process. 

SUMMARY

Merek's Market is a great solo and couch co-op title. It competes with the best in the genre and demands you keep playing. A generous solo and co-op career awaits brave shopkeepers.

+ Excellent cartoon style.
+ Fun and whimsy audio.
+ Simple controls.
+ Fantastic gameplay.
+ Moreish.
+ Challenging.
+ Competes with the market-leading titles.
- No online play.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Google Stadia and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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