From the masterminds behind the hugely popular title, de Blob, Swords & Soldiers takes a slightly different approach to the real time strategy (RTS) genre, but still works off the basic premise of Tower Defence.
It's clear that Ronimo Studios have been scouring the internet, because the game should in no way be taken as a serious affair. Many of the jokes are based off of Internet memes and the the art style is inspired by Super Moine. To make it even more surreal, the game pits the Aztecs, Vikings and Imperial Chinese against each other in quests for BBQ Sauce, Hypochillis and Toys, but will their endeavours be worthwhile, or just pure insanity?
It's fairly obvious that the game has been designed with pure fun and action in mind, as there is no real semblance of a story to be found. Comedic events set each campaign in progress, but aside from adding a bit of humour to the mix it's not really that involving. Each campaign contains 10 missions and while most missions can be handled without much hassle, the pacing sometimes shifts dramatically and the mission suddenly feels like a seemingly impossible task.
Each faction has their own unique units, spells and abilities. Although this helps to keep everything fresh and interesting, at times the game does feel a bit unbalanced. These elements are introduced at a good rate throughout the game and generally it's quite forgiving; allowing some time to get used to the unit before requiring its usage. Units are purchased using gold, which is acquired the same way for all three factions, but mana, which is used for spells, has a completely different gathering process for each side.
Missions remain quite varied throughout and they range from gathering resources, to destroying the enemies forces, or even just reaching the other side of the map. Most missions can be completed by unlocking all of the relevant powers, and producing a constant flow of enemies. However, at times this method is completely ineffective and specific methods must be adopted to stop the AI from achieving a swift victory.
Graphically, the game looks and feels quite nice and animations are fluid. When a mission starts, a Swords & Soldiers logo spins into place, which is a nice touch as it has some remnants of old TV Shows. During missions, action can get extremely intense and it's good to see that there isn't even a hint of slowdown. The music also fits the game well, although it can get monotonous if a mission drags on. The sound effects also help to add to the experience, especially when creating a unit. Each has its own personal battle cry ranging from the chinese workers chanting "I love gold" to the Hammer Vikings saying "Freeze, Hammer Time".
Despite being a WiiWare game, there is loads of content packed in. Reaching the half-way stage in each campaign unlocks a challenge and there are three in total. These work on the basis of survival and limited resources are given to achieve the objective. There is also a skirmish and multiplayer mode and each of these can be played using three different maps. On top of this, achievements have also been included and some are exceedingly challenging.
As soon as the game starts, it's easy to see that the developers aimed to make a fun game, and Swords & Soldiers achieves that with ease. While quite short in length, the campaigns are completely mad and rather addictive and the ability to play local multiplayer also adds a new dimension.
There are some negatives though, such as the inconsistent difficulty levels and the slight inbalance for each nation. These don't detract from the overall experience though as Swords & Soldiers is a fun and tactical WiiWare game that won't disappoint.