Starcraft 2 has been out for about a month now and while the multiplayer is certainly fun there are times where you just want something different. Most will immediately start thinking of DotA, but as luck may have it there are a lot of very cool, very different alternative games out there. Some require a lot of players to have a good time, others only need two or three, but all of them show off an impressive display of creativity. So if you're getting tired of the typical StarCraft grind, or are just looking for something fun to do with friends, why not check out a few of these custom maps. Guarantee they'll be worth your while.
Night of the Dead was one of the first maps we tried out, and it left an extremely positive impression on us. StarCraft 2's third-person perspective and naturally dark atmosphere make for a great 'zombie invasion' scenario that's hard to pass up, but few designers have made one that really stands out. NOTD changes that, by being unusually tense and difficult to play. Unlike the other survival-zombie maps we played, using three players just wasn't enough firepower for a few objectives. Not only that, the game provided enough action and unit upgrades that we felt everyone could have a pretty unique and independent role. The more players entering in, the better, as multiple objectives can be engaged at the same time as well. Anyone who enjoys a bit of a challenge, and has a lot of friends, should get a kick out of NOTD even if for a short while.
Of the list we compiled together, Haunted Temple felt the most in-progress and incomplete, but it was also a riot to play. Several players take the role of 'victims' while one will randomly be chosen to be the killer. The killer is permanently invisible, and the victims have the ability to crouch. Naturally victims are given a bit of time to run and hide from the killer, while the killer hunts them down ruthlessly. It's like hide-and-seek, only a little more frantic. Another mod that's best played with more than four people, the only real drawback were the graphics which (at the time of writing this) looked extremely choppy. Still the premise was fun, unique, and with a little more time could be something really worthwhile.
Imagine Mario Party, only with StarCraft units. That's what PartyCraft is in a nutshell, and that same fast-paced minigame action works surprisingly well in this custom game. Racing, nuke-avoidance, monster eating, and FFA shooting are just a few of the games that show up, and all of them come and go very quickly. Best of all, the minigames support groups both large and small, and require little instruction to play. Though it lacks the dark atmosphere or seriousness that many other custom maps are going for, PartyCraft should provide quite a bit of fun for a wide variety of players looking for a break from the typical StarCraft map.
Players get to choose between four different unit types, each with their own special unlockable powers. The objective is to move your unit along a spiral, filled with an increasing amount of robot drones. If a drone hits you, your unit will be knocked out until another player can come along and 'save'/resurrect your unit. Best played in at least a group of three, it's a fun combination of strategy and micromanagement skills. If anything later levels will help you gain a little more unit control, and all the levels lead up to some pretty interesting chase-sequences. The game gets extra props for its choice of music, which ranges from Scatman to One More Time. Hard not to enjoy that on some level.
One of the most played custom games available right now, there's little that isn't fun in Nexus Wars. Players are given a worker, which can build bases that create units. Units however, cannot be controlled, and will only run from one side of the level to the enemy base. The objective is to make the right combination of units to counter your opponent, while managing resources in order to do so. Even better is that the game supports eight players at once, and offers a wide variety of unit combos from every single race (along with a few custom moves). The matches can admittedly take a long time to play out, and some units still need to be worked on to be a little more useful (like the medivac), but otherwise Nexus Wars provides a pretty engaging experience that's just as fun as a regular multiplayer match.