Greed Corp, the second game from Dutch developer W!Games, is a turn-based strategy game recently released for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC. W!Games' latest offering comes in sharp contrast to their first game, My Horse And Me - a collection of horse riding mini games released on the Nintendo Wii in 2007. Fortunately, Greed Corp holds up much better. The game boasts unique, addictive strategy mechanics, a lengthy single player campaign, and numerous multiplayer options which will keep players engaged. Only a throwaway story and some minor design choices hold Greed Corp back from greatness.
W! has stated that Greed Corp is the first game in a planned series based on the studio's Mistbound fictional universe. This world is one in which automated industry has stripped the planet of almost all natural resources. Large corporations now fight over the scarce resources that remain. Sound familiar? In Greed Corp players take control of each faction (Freeman, Pirate, Cartel and Empire) for part of the story. Each group has its own motives for battling over the world's resources, but players aren't given any reason to care about them. Overall, the narrative feels like an afterthought, which is strange considering W!'s intention is to use this universe "as a platform for the studio's multi-format downloadable games."
The goal in Greed Corp is to outlast opponents. This is accomplished by gathering as many resources and territory as quickly as possible. The strategy element is focused around maneuvering the collapsing landscape while taking down enemies along the way. Players generally start at the corner of each map with a few walkers. Walkers are the basic offensive unit capable of taking neutral or hostile land in large numbers. To build up an army of walkers, resources are required and these are obtained by building harvesters. Harvesters increase resources by chipping away at the land surrounding them each turn, eventually causing the land to collapse into oblivion. Other building options include armories, cannons and carriers. Within a short time players are engaged in a life or death struggle for the last pieces of land that haven't crumpled.
The crumpling levels give each action a sense of urgency, a sense that is exacerbated by the fact that each turn has a time limit. Players will constantly feel vulnerable because every piece of land they conquer could fall from under them in a few turns. Greed really is crucial to success here; trying to hold down one area will either cause a shortage of resources or land. It's expand or die off and choose quickly. This design gives each match a fast pace and makes them very addictive. The downside to this fast pace is that mistakes are especially costly, and since every action is final one mistake can decide a match. This can get frustrating when the mistake is as simple as pressing the wrong button, allowing players to reverse actions before ending their turn would alleviate these frustrations. Ultimately, these are minor complaints to an otherwise fun, addictive strategy game.
The game's presentation is a mixed bag. Visually the game isn't that impressive; the art style is consistently plain across all levels. The lack of variety is unfortunate but doesn't hurt the gameplay in any way. While the visuals may not stand out the soundtrack definitely does. Greed Corp's soundtrack has an early 20th century jazz feel to it which is very catchy. Some narration for the brief bits of story would've been nice, but when it comes down to it Greed Corp thrives on the strength of its strategic gameplay, rather than its presentation.
Greed Corp benefits greatly from a variety of multiplayer options that give the game considerable legs. Along with the lengthy single player campaign, 24 matches that will last around eight hours, up to four players can battle in either local or online multiplayer. Multiplayer matches are also completely customizable, for example: two players can be playing on one system, a third can join online, and the fourth can be control by the AI, or any other combination. Matches can take place on one of 32 unlockable levels, and while they all look similar they play very differently because of the changes in topography. Players are getting a great deal of replay value from this package.
W!Games have a hit on their hands with Greed Corp. The game's core strategy is unique and very addictive. Couple this with a long single player campaign and the fully featured multiplayer and it creates a package that will keep players busy for quite some time. A few drawbacks include a weak story and certain minor design choices, however, these complaints are mostly nit picking. Fans of turn based strategy games should definitely check out Greed Corp.