|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ronimo Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ronimo Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
A particular criticism we must levy against the game, however, is that often skirmishes can become a long and somewhat-drawn-out tug of war between you and the enemy. The game ramps up steadily in difficulty, and by the midway point of just the first campaign, youll come across a skirmish or two that will take forever just to win a small foothold on the battlefield. The level of challenge might also prove a bit much later on for some players, as the first skirmish, alone, of the Chinese campaign is daunting in the extreme and took us several stabs before we successfully completed the mission. If youre someone who revels in hard-fought victory, though, youll surely enjoy what Swords & Soldiers has to offer.
In addition to the three campaigns, you can choose to play individual skirmishes against the A.I. Skirmishes are a nice slice of RTS gameplay that come in various flavors of difficulty. You can play as and against any of the three races and set various options, including the amount of gold each race starts out with, how many servants youll begin the skirmish with, as well as select from various terrain types. The multiplayer works exactly the same way but affords you the ability to challenge a friend in stacked, split-screen; it looks and works really well.
Speaking of which, Swords & Soldiers is a great game to look at, and the cheeky humor, art style, and easy-to-use features lend tons to the overall entertainment value of this package. Some folks might take issue with a few of the stereotypes the game riffs on, but it all seems to be in good fun. The dialogue is perfectly doled out, very funny, and its wrapped in a story that revolves around the conquest of the ultimate barbeque sauce. Each skirmish feels more like an interactive, animated sitcom than merely a set of battles to zip through.
The graphics are all 2D, with some of the most polished and pretty animation on the WiiWare platform. Its a great style that works both with the gameplay and overtly comical nature of the story. Everything animates smoothly with zero slowdown. Even the way in which each skirmish is introduced a touch lovingly stolen from the original Batman TV series is a real treat.
The aural compliments are equally satisfying, though the speaker in the Wii Remote isnt utilized at all. Its not really missed, though, and the music, sound effects, and various voice blurbs make a fun addition to this quirky adventure. All told, the game is jam-packed with personality.
Its surprising how few real-time strategy games are currently available on Wii considering the control possibilities of both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but perhaps developers will take note of Ronimos success on WiiWare. Swords & Soldiers definitely hits the mark, in spite of a few missions that overstay their welcome. Theres no online component, which is truly sad, since the gameplay is pitch perfect for quick, online pwnage. That said, youre still getting a whole lot of game for your 1000 Wii Points, and regardless of the lack of competition on Wii, Swords & Soldiers is a great little game that easily stacks up against any other RTS on any system. Its a definite buy for strategy-loving Wii owners.
CCC Freelance Writer