|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|
There are 16 maps total for the campaign, and they get challenging fast. Additionally, there are normal and advanced difficulty settings. Nectaris offers a competent war game, but it's as lifeless and uneventful as the surface of the moon.
When you're done with the single-player offering or simply want to take a break from going it alone, you can jump online for a bit of head-to-head action - that is, if you can find anyone to compete with. At the time of this review, the leaderboards listed a total of 30 players, and finding a match proved to be nearly impossible. There is no lobby system, so there's no way to tell if waiting for a game is even worth your while. To make matters worse, the match-making system splits players into groups of people who are starting games and those looking to join a game, rather than simply connecting available players. With so few people playing online, good luck getting a game started.
If there is one saving grace for Nectaris, however, it is the game's local-multiplayer component. You and up to three other friends can choose between a variety of maps, and certain options can be tweaked to customize each skirmish. Just like the single-player campaign, there's nothing snazzy about multiplayer skirmishes. With a friend who shares your appreciation for methodical warfare, however, this is where Nectaris' true value lay.
When it comes to production values, the game isn't at all ugly, but it greatly lacks ambition, both in terms of its art style and technical prowess. The menu screens are slick and attractive, and the in-game texture work for environments is surprisingly smooth for a WiiWare title. However, the units lack detail when seen up close, and the maps all look basically the same. There's also very little visual panache, and generally speaking, Nectaris is a boring game to look at. The sound effects are a mix of satisfying and slightly annoying, while the music is almost nonexistent during gameplay.
Military Madness: Nectaris is a solid strategy game that might offer mild entertainment for fans of the Advance Wars series, and it could actually prove to be a fairly decent value to anyone with a friend or two heavily into competitive strategy gameplay. To anyone looking for a truly compelling piece of entertainment, however, the title feels like a complete dud. The game offers a clean, if not completely sterile, presentation, but there's absolutely nothing here to enjoy outside of its dry and less-than-innovative gameplay. If you're the type who enjoys slowly sipping wine as the hours whittle away quietly, I say, consider giving Nectaris a try. Most everyone else, though, would be wise to simply let this one pass right on by.
CCC Freelance Writer