By Mike Yasenchak
After many days of playing, I finally feel that I am in a position to accurately review Swords & Soldiers by Ronimo Games (makers of De Blob). I attempted to review it without finishing the game, but it felt kind of dirty and wrong. However, after many sessions, I can claim success! First off, it did not take me weeks to finish the game because of its super long play. However, if the editors at Elder-Geek ever ask me to write or review again, I be fully qualified to write an editorial and title it “Gaming With a 12-Week Old Infant in Your Home: Dont Get Your Hopes Up.”
Swords & Soldiers can be found only be found on WiiWare. The game could also have been titled Violence and Vegetables although I doubt it would be downloaded as much. The very entertaining side-scrolling, real time strategy game is a bargain of a download at 1000 Wii points (currently right around $10 USD).
You play as one of three factions: Viking, Aztec or the Chinese. The action is fun, fast and furious. The dialog between the warring factions is actually quite funny, with humor present throughout the game, right up until the end credits. Elder geeks may especially enjoy the end credits where such things as Raiders of the Lost Ark and zombies are thanked and credited. How can you go wrong with a game that thanks zombies!??! You can’t. In fact, even though the game is rated for 10+, some of the humor may be lost unless you are an elder geek.
The game’s controls and interface are incredibly easy and intuitive. You mine/collect gold, which can be used to create a variety of different units depending on your faction. All of the gold collectors in the game are women characters. The vikings have an interesting set of women who mine their gold—rather endowed and seem happy to carry tons of gold home to their men! (Who WOULDNT want one of them??) But, I digress. A menu bar across the top of the screen displays which units are available. As soon as your unit is created, he/she dutifully charges toward the front lines with reckless abandon. Much like many other real time strategy games, when a unit is created, they are recognized by a certain sound, phrase or word that is played. Like the rest of the game, even these are entertaining. “Bring out your dead!” The colorful soldier characters all have pithy names like “Full Throtl” and “Poisonbotl.” Victory seems inevitable while commanding armies like these.
The different classes also have different magic powers which are given a mana point value. Mana is automatically regenerated, although the each faction has their own way of regenerating it quicker. The Vikings gain mana quicker by killing more enemies. The Aztec faction has a rather dark way to gain it quicker—sacrifice one of your own units, much like the Aztecs of old. You build Budha statues to speed up mana recovery if you play as the Chinese.
The game is point and click. You point at the unit you would like to create, and hit the A button. In fact, use of the Wii Remote in conjunction with the A button to select and the B button to cancel makes S&S a truly one-handed gaming experience. It’s great for eating pretzels and downing root beer or your adult beverage of choice with your free hand.
S&S has been blessed with a fantastic audio repertoire, which reflects hours of undoubtedly hard work by the people at Sonic Picnic. Each unit created makes it own sound, as does magic used, and deaths of units. The soundtrack is tastefully woven in to enhance the action and does not seem to get repetitive or annoying as some game soundtracks can. The backgrounds and characters are equally well done. There is always some eye candy to gawk at, be it your soldiers, the rolling hills behind you, or the detritus left from the din of battle.
The three factions are all easy to command, although truth be told I had to slow down the game speed to finish the Aztec quest. The Chinese soldiers with the long beards were handing my keister to me. (You will undoubtedly share my chagrin and temporary frustration if and when you download this title…)
The only negative attribute I can say this game possesses is when the game gets tough, you don’t have the luxury to watch your units in action. Your eyes are fixed at the top of the screen waiting for more gold to come in so you can create as many units as fast as possible. But, the great sound effects and voice acting let you know what is going on.
Alas, I am the only gamer in my home and I have not tried the multi player feature. I have no reason to believe that it is less fun than the campaign mode.
All in all, Swords and Soldiers is a very entertaining, enjoyable and fun game. The script is expertly written and the voices, music and sounds are top notch. Swords and Soldiers is well worth the 1000 Wii points.
AHH!!! CHOP CHOP!!!
About the Author: Michael Yasenchak is the elder brother of Randy Yasenchak and a spiritual geek leader of the site. One day he’ll write an article for Elder-Geek.com titled “Gaming With a 12-Week Old Infant in Your Home: Dont Get Your Hopes Up.”
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Swords and Soldiers
Published by: Ronimo Games
Developed by: Ronimo Games
ESRB Rating: E10
Platforms: Wii, WiiWare
Release Date: June 8, 2009
Genre: Real-Time Strategy