|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Backbone Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson Soft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In the world of video games, war wages on eternally, and Hudson now attempts to give Wii owners more of what they hunger for. Military Madness: Nectaris is a turn-based strategy game for the WiiWare platform, but is it a battle worth your 1000 Wii Points?
You may remember Nectaris from many years ago on PC, and this latest remake was also recently released for Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network. The premise of the game's story is that a prison colony on the moon has revolted and is now determined to destroy all life on Earth. The game is set far into the future, and there's a slight Starcraft vibe to the different squad types you'll control throughout the campaign. Though there is a story, it's compacted into a few lines of text and still images. Nectaris' gameplay is at the forefront of the package, with very little scenery to enjoy along the way.
It is, therefore, a shame that the gameplay isn't all that compelling or fun. The story mode is barebones, and the online component was pretty much dead on arrival. To be fair, the game does have a few unique and interesting strategy features, but they're not elements that stand out in any groundbreaking, new way.
Let's talk about the good, though. If you're familiar with the Advance Wars series, you'll be able to jump right into Nectaris - no problem - and that's a good thing too, since the game offers zero in the way of in-game instruction. Even if you have past experience with strategy games, you'll still want to log onto the WiiWare channel to view the game's sizeable manual, as there's quite a bit of technical info to soak up. Each squad type has unique move and attack abilities, and there's a surprising amount of complexity on the battlefield overall.
Similar to Advance Wars, you and your enemy will take turns commanding squads of units. You can command as many squads as you want per phase; factories and bases can be captured to allow you to heal squads, and squads are made up of multiple units that essentially represent your squad's health, damage, and armor.
The system is old hat for strategy games, but it still works quite well. In terms of tactics, Nectaris tosses a few unique features into the mix that make the formula feel at least moderately fresh. When you capture factories, for instance, you also capture and gain control of any squads that were camped inside, and certain squads can even move after attacking, something not generally found in the Advance Wars series.
Where Nectaris really falls short, however, is in its presentation. It's easy to forget just how dry strategy gameplay can be without a cause driving you onward. Missions are devoid of character or plot development, and the maps are ho-hum landscapes littered with generic-looking squads. It's difficult to tell your squads apart from the enemy's unless you hover over them with your cursor, as the color scheme is made up of a whole lot of grey.
Control is also lackluster, making use of only the Wii Remote turned sideways. Rather than utilizing the remote's I.R., you'll have to scroll across entire grid layouts to get at the squads you want to command. It's a tedious system and a missed opportunity. Being able to control squads with the remote's pointer functionality likely would have added an interesting level of interaction to this otherwise bland gameplay experience.