Xbox One Review: Merek’s Market

October 7, 2021 by  

Open for business?

Merek’s Market is a chaotic crafting game about running a medieval shop. We’ve all been that adventurer throwing down bags of gold to buy swords and shields, but what about the poor souls rushing around behind the shop counter? Strange customers? Yes. Over the top crafting challenges? You bet. A shop cat? Absolutely! Take ownership of Merek’s Market as you haggle, barter and craft your way through a comical single player campaign or team up with friends to supply the whole town.

Merek’s Market has gameplay that you may have come across if you’ve played the likes of Overcooked, but instead of combining food to make dishes and give them to customers, you craft weapons and other medieval items either solo or co-operatively over a short period of time. Each stage gets tougher as more customers arrive, new items emerge, and new recipes have to be learned to make them, add in obstacles like barriers to divide you up from your co-op friend and you’ll find yourself having a nervous breakdown as you try and get the last items out the shop before closing time.

I will say that I don’t know if this is an isolated incident with my version of the game, but I was actually unable to play the solo side of things as my character wouldn’t even move when I clicked begin and there was nothing actually going on, so I assume it’s either just broken for me since I couldn’t find any posts about it anywhere else or everyone else has just played it in co-op and not noticed. Either way, if it is a bug, I hope it gets fixed soon as it was quite frustrating and if I didn’t have a partner to play with, I’d have been completely unable to write anything about the game other than it being unplayable.

To be fair, playing the game co-operatively is more enjoyable as well as chaotic thanks to the different elements thrown at you during each stage. Some even have you construct parts for a giant medieval object that must be assembled in parts, but you still need to keep the flow of normal items going to freeze the timer so you can get the best score you can. I will say that the game is damn difficult at times and even harder is getting the top rankings, even in co-op we struggled to get anywhere near the top despite going as fast as we thought possible.

After handing an item to a buyer, they then go to the till to pay up and this is down with a quick-time button combo that if done right, gives you a bonus to your multiplier and your cash. Unfortunately, sometimes there is either input lag or the buttons don’t seem to even acknowledge they are being pressed, resulting in mistakes and resets to your multiplier. I hope this too gets patched as it makes getting those high scores that much harder.

Visually, the game looks basic, but it has a nice charm to it. There’s definitely something British about the whole thing, even the tutorial voice-actress gives some British wit that is undeniable. The framerate is stable for the most part, so the only thing that really lets the game down is the glitches at the moment.

The Verdict

Merek’s Market is a nice take on the Overcooked-style formula and when it works, it works well. Not being able to play solo and the input lag during checkouts at the till are fairly big issues that need resolving and once they are, then Merek’s Market will really be open for business.

Score: 7.0

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