Merchant is what all mobile games could be, simple, smooth and compelling. This game will keep you amused (if not enraptured) for long periods of time.
You’re a merchant. You recruit heroes and you send them off to gradually more challenging areas to gather resources and level up. You take these resources and hand them to your craftsmen who turn them into items to sell in your shop, or new pieces of kit for your heroes. Heroes and craftsmen slowly level up and every ten levels you’ll move on to the next tier of enemies and the next tier of items. All the while you’re selling your excess, or the weapons and items your heroes don’t use and trying to amass a hoard of gold.
What do you do with this gold? Hire more heroes, expand your inventory (the more heroes you have bringing in loot, the more space you’re going to need) and craft, craft, craft.
Merchant is a fantastic game for time wasting or background playing. Each task takes a period of minutes (generally up to about 12 depending on complexity) so it’s a great game to pick-up and put down while you’re doing something else as well. Merchant’s not the sort of thing you’re going to be able to sit and focus 100% of your attention on (without getting bored).
So what makes Merchant so much better than a lot of its mobile platform competitors? It runs well, it’s simple to grasp and play and it’s not after your money. So many mobile games are made to be pretty little money grabbers, convenient ways for developers to prey on nostalgia so as to rake in a profit.
Merchant could be more than it is and there’s plenty of room for improvement but it’s an exciting potential rather than a frustrating absence. Being able to name your heroes would be cool. Having certain items that certain classes can/can’t use would make them feel much more differentiated from each other, something Merchant doesn’t do so well at the moment. More regular rare enemies and more variety within tiers of enemies would also be good.
Saying that, this gamer has happily tapped hours away with Merchant and heartily recommends it to any of you who’ve a long journey coming up, or happen to be slightly bored. It’s compelling, it plays well regardless of your device, it’s being updated regularly and lastly and perhaps most importantly (in terms of mobile gaming) it’s free!