I really enjoyed Merek’s Market and will be adding it to our family game nights.
Now here is an unlikely diamond in the rough. Merek’s Market, developed and published by Big Village Games Limited, is a wonderfully masterful and creatively chaotic crafting game about running a medieval shop, with a unique twist on the tried and tested formula. This medieval masterpiece is available now on PC, Playstation and Xbox.
Merek’s Market shares similar elements and mechanics to classics like the Overcooked series: take some ingredients or items and turn them into another item, rinse and repeat. This time however, you’re running your own shop complete with haggling, bartering, and crafting up a storm. Merek’s Market has both a single player campaign and couch co-op to help kit out your town with all the medieval merchandise they desire. We need more couch co-op games like this which are far more enjoyable when playing with others in the same room.
I found both modes equally enjoyable although the campaign’s narrative helped by giving purpose to the mayhem. During the campaign, you take control of Merek as he has opened his shop and is trying to make a name for himself in his town. You are visited regularly by Tess and Len who both offer their opinion and expertise to help you on your way. The controls are very simplistic and made the gameplay a joy to navigate. An interesting addition to the game is the customer paying mechanic. During the payment sequence the player either has to enter button combinations if playing with a controller or typing a word when playing with keyboard and mouse.
A unique aspect of Merek’s Market is that during some interactions, you can deal directly with the customers and have the option of bartering with them. This takes the simple form of choosing where on a bar you want the price and then the customer either accepts it or to makes a counteroffer. When that happens, you can accept it or try to push the price a little bit. On occasion a customer may come in with a special request that can be a bit ambiguous and it’ll be up to you to choose the right item and negotiate a price.
Within Merek’s Market, there’s a massive mixed bag of items to craft from simple staffs and belts to blacksmithing more complex suits of armour and weapons. Thankfully, all the recipes become accessible via your handy recipe book as levels progress, so you don’t need to worry about memorising them. Although I enjoyed the look of the cartoony style graphics, I felt it was rushed in some places as some finer details needed polishing.
Merek’s Market has a great medieval soundtrack playing in the background that adds to the ambiance and completely immerses you into his world. For the voice acting tragics like me, it doesn’t stop there. The game is fully voice acted with fantastic British accents. When you see the character speaking, it doesn’t look right as it doesn’t match what is being said and felt a bit out of place at times. Lastly the sound effects used when crafting also sounded very authentic. When forging a sword, the sound of the hammer hitting the anvil was perfect.
A highlight feature of the game is that you can play local co-op with up to 4 people. And let’s be honest, games like this are best enjoyed with friends. I had the privilege of playing co-op with my partner and my son, and both really enjoyed their time in the game. They found the controls easy to use and relatively quick to pick up and master.
As with other games of this genre, I found Merek’s Market a bit repetitive after a while. The game does an ok job of trying to mix up the levels with bartering and commissioned builds, but I found them few and far between unfortunately. If you like a game where you’re crafting under some tight time constraints, then this is the game for you.
Overall, I really enjoyed Merek’s Market and will be adding it to our family game nights. I recommend playing it couch co-op with family and friends.
This review utilised a Steam key provided by Renaissance PR and Merek’s Marketplace is available now on Steam, PlayStation and Xbox.
Written by: @Blustreak81