Monday, 20 December 2010

Review of Swords and Soldiers HD

Do you like BBQ's? Well you'll be displeased to hear that Blackbeard is intent on stopping yours! "This cannot be!" I hear you cry, but it is.

Luckily you have the opportunity to save your BBQ from his evil clutches in Swords and Soldiers HD!

Read on if you like BBQ's! Or if you don't like BBQ's!

The game plays like an uncontrollable RTS (eg, your characters pretty much keep moving even if you don't ask them to!) As you control what units are built and what spells to cast.

The basis is incredibly simple and it works! Starting off playing as the Vikings you are able to build axe-men and, uh, throwing-axe-men! The latter being cheaper, long range and rather less hardy. It's not too tricky to guess you need a good balance of the two types to make it through a level.

Gold is mined (in most levels) by busty maidens who need protecting from any enemies who might get too close to your base. The gold is then used to buy units as well as to obtain new unit types, upgrade your mana recharge rate and also learn new spells.

Spells no the other hand use mana, which recharges fairly slowly. The spells are good fun but pretty standard starting off with healing and lightning before getting more interesting with resurrection spells later on.

There's obviously a fair bit of work gone into this, while the cut scenes are just talking between some of the characters there is a batman (original TV series) like "scene change" where the Swords and Soldiers logo zooms in then out. I laughed out loud for at least the first 4 times this happened (which isn't bad for a recurring joke!) And the artwork really is of a great comic style and animated in that bouncy way that makes me think of flash animations.

Each side you can play certainly has it's own benefits and drawbacks which is nice. There's even an element of tower defense in there where again each side has a different type of tower they can build.  My favorite units were probably the giant Inca beasts, they felt indestructible at times and frightening going up against them! Actually playing the Inca campaign was more fun than the Viking's, their spells were far more interesting.

The spell effects were quite a bit of fun, I especially enjoyed using the snow storm spell that freezes groups of enemies for a while. you want to use it all the time but the mana reserves were never enough! Like I said though, the inca powers are more fun, like creating cages to trap enemies and throwing bottles of poison.

Even with this all of this though I found I got a little tired of the concept early on. Playing one level now and again was the easiest way to get through this, and why writing anything up took such a long time! Levels don't take too long to complete but playing more than 3 levels in one sitting felt too much like hard work.

Internet play is included and I've had my bottom handed to me several times now. What I did really like was the way that the game searches for an opponent while you are playing so you're not sat there like a lemon watching a progress bar. It was a little disconcerting the way it just shoved you into a different game when it finds an opponent though and then returns you to your single player game afterwards as if nothing has happened!

For the cost it's difficult to knock Swords and Soldiers HD, it's well presented and a lot of fun! I'm sure I'll get the hang of the multiplayer (rush tactics!) And probably come back to the single player campaign once and a while. It's not a long haul game though so if you're looking for something with tons of depth to play today this isn't the way. However if you want something to play occasionally when waiting for a download or while the wife gets ready for shopping this is fantastic!

[Score: 76 out of 100]

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