Metal Slug Attack

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Metal Slug Attack App Poster Image
Complex game features overshadow action-packed battles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The app offers detailed instructions to help guide players. The gameplay involves a lot of elements, which may seem overwhelming, even with the instruction -- but players should at least be able to figure out a way to move forward.


The game centers on attacks against other enemies using a variety of weapons. Bloodletting is minimal, though – players don't see much of the aftermath.  



Images of animated characters in barely-there clothing appear periodically.


Chats on the site and usernames have included words like "f--k" and other swears.


A fair amount of references to in-app purchases can be found throughout the app, which cost from $0.99 to $49.99. This is based on the long-running and popular Metal Slug franchise.


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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Metal Slug Attack is an action game for iOS and Android devices. This is the latest title based on the popular Metal Slug franchise. The gameplay has frequent confrontations involving tanks, guns, and other weapons. Some characters are shown in clothing so skimpy they appear to be naked at first glance. Although the app's free to use, players may feel a need to buy items to help them make progress during the experience. They may also be confused when they start playing, due to the large amount of information they’re initially shown about the many aspects of the game -- which range from different types of missions they can undertake to making units stronger by leveling up or evolving, processes that aren't fully clear from the descriptions that are provided. Unmoderated chat means that players could be exposed to inappropriate user names and comments that are full of profanity or other explicit phrases.

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What's it about?

Players deploy soldiers and equipment in battle in METAL SLUG ATTACK. They tap soldiers to fire, can have the squad battle simultaneously, or choose an automated play option. Prisoner-of-war rescues, military base attacks, and other assignments earn medals and other currency that can be used to strengthen their unit's skills and resources, such as adding a satellite for combat. Players can customize some battle aspects beforehand, like the team they'll use. A map marks their mission progress, and they can face off against other players at points.

Is it any good?

While this action packed game is designed for fast-paced play, some of the game's complexity can hold players back. Metal Slug Attack gives players some autonomy to make choices when preparing for battle -- selecting a hired mercenary, for instance, and a tank, which can allow them to strategize. But with the considerable amount of elements involved, you may need to patiently endure some trial-and-error guesswork to figure out what options are best. But even if they don't want to dwell on all the particulars, the gameplay offers entertaining action experiences. Players can tap on soldiers to tag them in and tap on them again to make them shoot, or hit a Battle button to engage multiple fighters. Weapons discharge loudly, and smoke billows up from areas that have been hit as you advance toward the opponent's base.

The confrontations move quickly at first, but eventually feature longer scenes with more terrain to cover and additional challenges. The visuals aren't gory -- fallen participants generally fade away quickly, without any focus on their injuries -- but some parents may not be too crazy about the generally violent theme. There are a few other issues -- the ability to friend and potentially connect with other users through chats, for instance, and sexualized female characters who seem contradictory with the battle motif also appear at points. The game's focus on frequently purchasing items as you advance to use in battles is another concern. While you'll earn a significant amount of in-app currency from playing, even with ample resources, the amount of battle gear that's available and helpful to buy could cause you to feel like you need to spend real-world money to play. Due to those factors, parents may want to participate in or at least monitor kids' time on the app -- which could also provide an opportunity to discuss how to potentially utilize critical thinking skills in battle-related decision-making. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how violence is depicted in games. Is the impact of the violence in Metal Slug Attack affected by the cartoonish nature of the visuals? Would the impact be intensified if the visuals were more realistic?

  • What are some non-violent ways you can resolve disagreements or disputes? Do you think that would be an option within a game like Metal Slug Attack?

  • What steps should you take when trying to figure out how to tackle a challenge? Can you apply these steps that you use in Metal Slug Attack in real life?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: January 25, 2021
  • Category: Strategy Games
  • Size: 179.00 MB
  • Publisher: SNK Corporation
  • Version: 5.20.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later or Android 4.1 and up.
  • Last updated: January 26, 2021

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