“Top-down Metal Slug” is the descriptor that rang in my head almost every moment of playing Evil Factory, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Evil Factory is Nexon and Neople’s latest offering and it evokes some of the same frantic fast-paced feelings as old arcade classics like Metal Slug or Contra. Evil Factory’s unique weapon mechanics, neat cast of characters and constant influx of new toys are what set this top-down action game apart.

Evil Factory has you play the role of Leo, an explosives expert tasked with infiltrating a high-security fortress in Antarctica. The fortress in question belongs to Kraken, an evil organization set on “enlightening the world” as they so eloquently put it. A lot of the evil robotic creatures you encounter are the work of Dr. Ulrich, a mad scientist you’ll encounter on your journey. You’re guided through each level by Yui, a chipper and sarcastic dispatch agent. Yui is among a few characters you’ll encounter in this game like Diego in research and development or Cobra the weapons dealer.

Yui and other character’s more anime aesthetic is contrasted by the pseudo 16-bit graphics in the rest of the game. Leo’s small sprite is dwarfed even further by the game’s giant bosses, which are all different robotic animals. These bright, colorful bosses are as neat to look at as they are deadly, and they are very deadly. All of this is punctuated by the punchy, catchy soundtrack that adds a very cold and industrial feel to the action.

Nexon

Each level in Evil Factory is a another floor in Kraken’s massive lair, and each floor brings a new challenge to our hero, Leo. Hordes of Kraken Soldiers, the aforementioned giant animal bosses, and all manner of evil robots will try and stop you as you descend further down. Your main mode of combat is planting dynamite that explodes after a few seconds. This means you’ll need to be smart about how you fight each enemy and constantly keep moving, since the dynamite can kill you too. This is where Evil Factory’s slow motion mechanic comes in the most handy.

Whenever you let your hand off of the controls the game automatically goes into slow motion until you touch the screen again. This gives you ample time to analyze an enemy’s attack and movement pattern before you blow them up with some well placed dynamite. Levels are short enough that death is never really too much of a setback. You’re not limited to just the slow methodical dynamite though, as this game throws a slew of sub weapons your way. As you progress you’ll find schematics for new weapons to build and buy in the shop. Grenade launchers, molotov cocktails, pitching machines, there’s something for everyone’s playstyle.

Nexon

The action is fast and never let’s up in Evil Factory, but clearing a room full of soldiers with one well-placed bundle of dynamite makes me feel undeniably awesome. I got that “just one more level” feeling just to see what new giant boss would pop-up next, or to try out the cool new weapons I’d unlocked. There are even a few neat mini-games to unlock by finding different game cartridges throughout the game’s numerous levels. Evil Factory’s short, challenging stages are perfect for short jump-in jump-out play sessions, but it’s hard to play just one.

Evil Factory is available now for iOS and Android for free, though there are in-app purchases.