Mushroom Wars 2 Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Developer: Zillion Whales
Publisher: Zillion Whales
Release Date: July 5th 2018
Price as of Article: $19.99 USD, £17.99 GBP
Game code provided by Zillion Whales for review
Mushroom Wars 2 is the first real time strategy game to hit the Nintendo Switch. Originally an iOS title, the developer Zillion Whale have ported the game to multiple consoles including the Switch.
Set in a fictional world in which mushrooms evolved to be the intelligent life the story unfolds through the use of storyboard style artwork without any text or voice so it’s left to our interpretation but essentially there are four tribes at war, something to do with mosquitos and battle scarred veteran Fungi – the story is basic but a welcome addition that does grow on you through the 200-odd campaign levels.
Mushroom Wars 2 is a fast paced RTS opting for simple gameplay that is less complicated than the likes of Starcraft or Command & Conquer but equally strategic. The goal is to takeover the opposing tribe by effectively managing your resources and taking out your enemies bases – the gameplay blends tower defence and RTS well and hides strategy beneath an accessible core gameplay experience.
Instead of your troops fighting each other, battles takes place in buildings. You can send your mushroom warriors to any of the many buildings on a map from any of your occupied buildings and if you conquer it your troops will occupy that building and reap its benefits. Initially the primary building is a village which spawns troops over time but as you progress there are also defence towers which attack the enemy when in range and forges which boost your troops stats.
Suprisingly for a game that was ported over form mobile devices the game does not include touch controls on the Switch, this feels like an odd oversight. That said the joycon controls are nice and easy to use, you select one of your structures by holding R over it and then decide which building to send them to, from here you can choose to send 25, 50, 75 or 100 troops with the press of a button.
The game comes with 2 campaigns, each with about 100 levels. These are a great way to get into the game and offer variety including fighting some bosses and many different situational maps. For completing each stage you will receive a number of stars depending on how well you performed, my gripe with the campaign is in its slow learning curve – it feels like the first 50 or so levels are an extended campaign.
In addition to these options there are 3 game modes – Conquest in which you must defeat your opponent, Domination which has key buildings that need to be captured in order to win and King of the Hill where you must capture a tower for a certain amount of time in order to win.
When we get into multiplayer we see how the game was intended to be played, you can choose from one of 12 heros, each comes with a set of 4 unique skills that affect how you play from speeding up troop growth to bolstering their strength. This feature is new to this sequel and adds a welcome additional strategic layer.
Starting a match, your first aim is to race and take over as many unoccupied towers and barracks as possible in order to accelerate troop development and get your defences online. You can upgrade these buildings by sacrificing a number of troops and it’s this balance of taking as many bases as possible without over extending and becoming too vulnerable to counter attack that decides who wins these short 10 minute maximum battles.
We have ranked mode, leagues and friendly modes played in either player vs player or team vs team. You are even able to spectate a match to learn the ropes before diving in.
The soundtrack is well put together, the background music is catchy but not overly invasive and the sound effect of invading mushrooms is likeable reminding me or Worms or Lemmings but my main issue with the audio is its lack of variety.
After 50 or some matches in campaign and a few online matches you may find yourself wishing for variety as I did.
In game the visuals wisely opt for simplicity, with its fast paced gameplay the visuals clearly differentiate teams with distinct colours and there is little to distract. Thats not to say the visuals are poor – the cutesy art style is nice with well drawn backgrounds and fluid animation. In the cut scenes we see lovely paintings, I found the story boards to be excellent pieces of art that are a treat on the eye.
With such a fast pace, performance issues would ruin the whole games experience, thankfully I saw none of these issues. Online play is easy to get into and again has no performance issues.
At $19.99 in the US and £17.99 in the UK Mushroom Wars 2 comes in well below triple A titles but quite high on the indie price scale. With so many games to choose from it can be hard for a game to justify its cost, with Mushroom Wars 2 however it has a few things going for it – firstly there is a lack of competition, if you are after an RTS then this is the only option right now. That said, there is plenty more going for it, the campaign is fully fledged if a little repetitive, there are a bunch of modes and the addition of online complete with Ranked matches and co-op play makes this a compelling package.
On mobiles the game opts for a freemium model, the base game with a few levels and lacking modes is free with purchases made in increments – whilst I much prefer having access to the whole game and not needing to pay to win for online modes its worth pointing out as you can test the game on an iPad for example before deciding whether to part with your hard earned cash on the Switch.
Pick up and play
Lots of competitive options
Fills an RTS gap
No touch screen controls