Game: Mushroom Wars 2
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/Publisher: Zillion Whales
Price: $ 17.99/€ 19.99/£ 17.99
Release Date: July 5 on Switch e-shop
(The game is available in iOS too)
Overall Feeling: I like it!
(Review Code generously provided by Zillion Whales)
The Nintendo Switch undoubtedly has a large library, built in the time since it started it’s console-life over a year ago. Every week many games are added in all price ranges. This doesn’t mean that there’s a game in all gaming genres however. One of the categories that isn’t represented very well is Real Time Strategy. And Mushroom Wars 2 is here to remedy that. The game is set to reach a lot of players, as it can be played in Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese.
Mushroom Wars 2 is already available on mobile, so this game is ported to the Switch. This isn’t a bad thing, as the game is right at home there. You might argue why you wouldn’t play it on mobile and not on the Switch, as on mobile it’s free to download. However, the mobile version only gives you a few levels for free, and the rest are chapters that are in-app purchases. For the price of the Switch game you will get the whole package in one.
The life of a Mushroom
Who would have thought mushrooms can have such an exiting life? I sure didn’t (well, apart from Toad of course, but he is special!). Nothing much is said in the game, but from the paintings that show the story, you can surmise that the mushrooms had a fairly quiet peaceful life until war came to their doorstep. And that’s when the mushroom gets to be a veritable war machine!
What got me interested in the first place in the game was this launch trailer: that’s the kind of humor I like!
As is often the case with commercials, the armies you command don’t really look as cute as in the trailer. The beautiful artwork is only shown in the cut-scenes and in the detailing of the warrior you chose to fight for you. The fighting stages are viewed from above, with you minions marching on the battlefield as tiny dots.
The moment I saw the armies on the battlefield I was immediately reminded of another game: Pikmin. The same mechanics of throwing your armies at foes, seeing the little ghostly blobs leave their earthly bodies behind when they perish. But unlike in Pikmin, these little soldiers don’t hold any sentimental value for me, much easier to pit them against each other. All for the sake of victory!
Battle levels aplenty
If it’s content you are looking for, you’re at the right address. There are single player campaigns that are story driven. 4 episodes with 50 missions each, and in the first episode called mosquito of a Dead Man is used to let you learn the ropes of the game.
The Multiplayer mode is split into two. The Rating Matches let you play online with 2,3 or 4 players to find your niche in the Mushroom levels. Then there are Online Matches that are on your own level with 2,3 or 4 players, but you can also play with a friend against a team of two others.
What makes these online games extra fun is that you can chose your character from a gallery of 12. Each of them has their own unique abilities. Like for instance Stella, who can speed up production of new mushroom-minions and decrease defense.
The third sort of battles are Custom Battle games. You can play however you like, against local friends, online friends or bots. Pick 1 versus 1, play against each other in a group of friends or team up against another team. All of this makes sure you won’t be bored pretty soon.
How to be a good general to your troops
You command your army from above, by sending them out. You start with equal amounts of troops, that multiply while in your villages. But you want them to conquer your enemies villages, or neutral villages if they are on the battle field. And when you own a village, you can upgrade it so that it can produce troops quicker. Because you’ll need a whileDon’t mistake this game for a cutesy super laid back game. It isn’t. You have to think quickly about where you will send your troops.
Then there’s the choice of how many of your troops you want to send: 25%, 50%, 75% or the lot of them. Leaving your own town unprotected of course, and the enemy can easily overtake it then. When you get further in the game, you can also turn one of your towns into a forge (which strengthens your army) or a tower that shoot pellets at enemy armies advancing. There are special moves to make, like speeding the army up, giving a town special protection and much more.
The battle is quickly paced, one moment of not paying attention will make the battle go downhill. And once it’s going wrong, it’s hard to correct it. And that was in the easy mode that I was playing!
Steep turning curve
Because it all happens so quickly, the learning curve is steep. At the beginning I even got stuck at the third chapter of the first episode. That’s when I decided to check out the iOS version on my iPad first. In the mobile version, the tutorial is much more patient, and I needed that to learn the ropes. The first levels are free, so it didn’t cost me anything to learn how to be a better general.
Aside from all the moves to make the landscape changes as well, adding more obstacles that fit in with the terrain. Small details, but leading your troops through a hollow tree trunk or over brooks to get to the enemy village made me smile.
This game has loads of content if you enjoy a good Real Time Strategy multiplayer game. You have to think quickly, but once you master the basics and the special moves after that, it’s fun. Many multiplayer options should you get bored with the single player campaign.
The game is no walk in the park, sometimes I even wondered if the computer I was playing against was deliberately gobbling up my little mushroom men at an increased pace. Which can be real frustrating! But after playing it a while, I think it was my inexperience doing me in.
It’s a good game though I do feel the price could have been a bit lower. The game has been on other media for some time now too, and the average price range of games on the Switch is something like $15. Still, it’s one of the few RTS games on the Switch, and I like it!