Game Review: Mushroom Wars
Release: October 15th
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Developer: Creat Studios
Available Platforms: PS3
ESRB Rating: E
Mushroom Wars is a downloadable RTS title only available on the PSN right now. The quirky little game was developed by Creat Studios, who released Digger HD earlier this month. Mushroom Wars hit the PSN with very little press or fan fair. So does it deserve your ten dollars?
In Mushroom Wars, you command your mushroom men army around the battlefield trying to take control of various buildings. The win objectives change but taking control of buildings on the map is always the base gameplay in Mushroom Wars. The 3 game types you will play in the game are Conquest, completely destroying the enemy army, Domination, taking control of specific buildings on the map, and King of the Hill, holding specific buildings on the map to earn points.
Many RTS games fall victim to bad controls when put on consoles. Mushroom Wars, however, is not a traditional RTS. The controls are extremely simple. The left analog stick will move your cursor from building to building. R1 and the right analog stick will let you move units from one building to another. L1 will bring up an upgrade menu for players to upgrade their buildings. That is about it. Mushroom Wars’ simple controls let anyone jump in and be able to play the game.
Mushroom Wars’ art is one of its selling points. It is sharp, colorful, and so cheerful that you forget that little soldiers are killing each other with every move. Each different faction’s soldiers and buildings are drawn differently from your orange army. This gives a lot of character to units and buildings which are essentially the same, gameplay wise.
For a game so adorable, it can be pretty hard. The A.I. in the game is very smart and if you make a mistake it will make you pay for it. This makes a game that could have been boring, given the simple gameplay and controls, and makes it very fun. With such simple controls, it lets players focus entirely on their strategy. The A.I. will force you to think of different ways to attack each map. The 28 campaign battles all feel different from one another, either by giving you a time limit or simply by which buildings you start with. Because of Creat Studios’ smart map design and Mushroom Wars’ challenge, having the same basic gameplay never feels old. Of course, playing multiplayer will give you the even bigger task of facing a human brain, which will always trump game A.I.
While the challenge is great, Creat Studios could have held your hand a little towards the beginning of the game. The beginning mission will explain how to use the controls, but when I got thrown into my first battle I had no idea what I was supposed to actually do with those controls. I could see that I needed to take over buildings, but didn’t know what to do with those buildings. A more thorough explanation of the game’s mechanics would have been very welcome.
Another missing component in Mushroom Wars is online play. Why is there no online play? It is perfect for it, yet the only multiplayer in the game is local. Even the local multiplayer is missing something. In the campaign you sometimes face 3 other mushroom factions, but local multiplayer is limited to 1 on 1 matches. Mushroom Wars’ single player is great, but its multiplayer is very lacking.
Bobby’s final say: Mushroom Wars is a great little game. It looks great and the gameplay is solid and addictive. For ten dollars it is a good deal, but unless you have someone to play with then do not expect to play very long after the initial campaign.