Game Title: Mushroom Wars
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Platform: PlayStation® Network
ESRB Rating: E
Developer: Creat Studios
Publisher: Creat Studios
Release Date: October 15, 2009
Overall Score: 8/10
Review Author: GrayGargoyle,
Presentation (8/10): Starting out this year, Creat Studios is officially a 20-year-company. Having been founded in 1990, Creat Studios only began solidifying a name for themselves in recent years when they brought to life such games as the American Chopper racing series in the previous generation, and much nearer has produced a number of downloadable projects, including 2009 favorites like Magic Ball and Cuboid. Creat's history isn't that widespread. Their roster of games isn't that large. Although evidence of sizeable hard media is available from the publisher/developer's background, it's their invested interest in the booming download market that would seem to be where the company's greatest strength lies. Their array of well-put-together puzzling, arcadey and creative twists on existing gaming conceptions is where Creat's energy is concentrated, and from all of this many gamers would agree that the effort is appreciated. Creeping in under the radar during the busy fall holiday lineup, Mushroom Wars is one of the company's more recent entries on the PlayStation Network, a game that will quickly grow on you just like the fungi that it gets its theme from.
Leave the story up to your imagination, because Mushroom Wars doesn't have one! It doesn't need one, and it doesn't want one. Mushroom Wars is a real-time strategy game with a compelling twist. It's you against an enemy. This nefarious entity is none other than a pack of elfin mushroom men. All the same, your army is composed of one fungus-filled stronghold. Reliant on your orange team against the computer's blue, red, or whatever, the objectives are ever-changing but the mechanics essentially remain intact while shooting to the top of the stepladder. The idea is to capture every point on the map, at least some of the time, while the enemy drives you back maintaining the exact strengths and weaknesses as you do... only it usually has the upper hand to start out with. Between you and your rival, plenty of times you'll enter a stage with the enemy already in possession of about 70% of the map, if not more. This can be frustrating for someone when your mission can involve having to dominatingly conquer each and every base on the map. By adding such elements as the enemy's clasp on collapsible towers that blast your forces with laser beams and a brief time limit to tighten the squeeze on your transparent difficulty, Mushroom Wars does carry a certain seemingly unbeatable outlook from progressive points. But hey, that's why they call this strategy, and that's where every ounce of your smarts will become useful from this easily adaptable strategy title that in reality has more depth to it than appearances would allow.
Gameplay (8.5/10): Grow. Populate. Expand. Defend. Clobber your enemy - take over theirs while keeping yours. It's an infective power that is handed to players in Mushroom Wars. Let's say that you have control over a highlighted mushroom hut. Close by, a neutral mushroom base rests with a number hanging overhead. You have 100 mushroom people to do what you want with. The digit resonating along this empty space is 20. Sending half of your infantry will mean that approximately 20 of them will disappear. Because, after all, the rules of Mushroom Wars is that in order for your community to thrive it must perish. By the numbers, each trapping point on the map will only fall to players after sending out a specific number to do so. This, in turn, automatically regenerates a climbing quantity of warriors to each mushroom house that's under your command. Already the numbers rise here, but to be more specific your units die whenever in the act of seizing or resisting. In other words, if an enemy were making its way into one of your bases, the given number of units that it's sending in there will eliminate an amount in or around there. It's the nature of the game: simple, constructive.
Marching through the campaign, players learn about adapting to the game's controls and machinery almost effortlessly, as an in-game tutorial pauses the on-screen action before battles commence throughout the majority of the campaign’s introduction. Holding R1 on one of your bases will activate a guided line that can be directed at any point on the map. Subsequently pressing one of the face buttons will send all, a third, a half, or a quarter of the units from their camp. L1, on the other side of the stick, has the power to either upgrade the building (for accommodative use) or transmogrify it into something else entirely, be it a guard tower (these rain down destructive cannonballs atop enemy units passing by, or coming in), an armory (acquiring one of these will strengthen your army, enabling them weaponry, for example), or the mushroom source (specifically, these extend the size of your division, being the only type of position in which will automatically generate additional expendable units).
Using what you know about the game, there are 28 campaign missions in all to complete, where a few goals are bound to strain your brain (in a good way) on how you'll need to approach the heightening slate. Some directives are a little less complicated, such as having to hold down the fort on star-marked stations. The one occupying these settlements while racking up points for doing so more hastily will win the pot. Another assignment involves having to completely overwhelm the enemy by nabbing each and every one of their bases. To amplify difficulty at times, you'll come across some maps that will situate you with a constricting time limit, asking players to accomplish the task in five minutes or less. One other stumbling block can be that of not just fending against a single raiding party, but three all together. Doubling or tripling threats will attempt to clear out your garrison all at once, while you go after theirs or they go after others.... While the game can seem a little overbearing at times, it is quite a fun experience. It's deep enough not to feel undercooked, and it's simple enough not to make you want to bash your head against a table repeatedly. Apart from the campaign, a few other notable elements of appeal is that players can also take part in the skirmish (e.g., instantaneously straightforward battles against the AI) or local multiplayer mode, where two players compete head-to-head. If that's not surprising enough, then hold onto your britches! Finishing any mode of play means that players can view the replay video afterward, even recording it with the tools provided for the purpose of uploading that footage onto your YouTube account. Do so either to show others your superiority, or do it to provide a walkthrough for others to apply the tactically feasible strategies that you've developed.
Graphics (7.5/10): Happiness isn't always rainbows streaming through the clear blue sky and flowers blooming in the meadows around you. Joy can sprout from less extravagant measurements as it can the furthest reaches from wherever you may go looking for it. Take Mushroom Wars: visually the game gives you nothing but an isometric window of cheery, bright and clean backdrops made to give you the sense of where you are in the region. If it’s green and rock patterns are found, you're in grassy town. If it’s shaded brown and lightened craggy textures come teeming, the mountains are where you‘ll calculatingly find yourself theming. Above these still images you have boldly outlined prioritized locations and droves of microscopic hooded creatures all animating just a touch, and done so in a decent manner. Sending your foot soldiers out will put forth single-filed rows of mushroom things all marching together in orderly fashion, pouring in through the doorway of a structure, and piling all in until it shifts from something unwanted into something more your style. Evil mushroom towers zap your army with frying laser beams. Cannonball towers heave out multiples of teeny round balls. The assemblies of mushroom people are extremely fragmented in size, but upon closer inspection you'll notice puny sticks in their hands. Mushroom Wars won't redefine anything, graphically, but that's not saying that there’s no evaluation that’s preventing players from reasonable contentment.,
Sound (7.5/10): "Yay!" This shall be the only voiced segment that you'll come in contact with throughout Mushroom Wars, asserted whenever you or an opposite team grabs a hold of an armory. As squeaky as the statement squeals outward, it's friendly and it meshes well with the thoroughly pleasant audio arrangement. An array of clicking and beeping bytes parry forth indicating that you're sending your people out to their destructive resolve, or that you're beefing up one of their sweet new crash pads. Crisp lasers zip about and plumpy cannonballs come dropping in as well as a charming, almost movie-like soundtrack backs up the sound board. If you've ever seen a romantic comedy where the montage at the end sets the mood for events that ushers the conclusion along in mixing electronic, violin strings, and similar elements, the themes within Mushroom Wars is likely to remind you of that kind of experience: a happy-go-lucky rhythmic event to preserve players’ motivation on finishing not just the battle ahead, but the mushroom war.
Replay (7.5/10): Pocket change compared to the price of a full retail game, at $9.99 Mushroom Wars is essentially not out of reach for the money-saving consumer. In terms of downloadable content, however, that's 1,000 pennies that are approaching something that you're going to have, and hold, and you want to come away knowing that the gain is worth the loss. The answer, of course, is yes. As far as strategy enthusiasts go, this is one such title that will make you glad knowing complexity is out and eased-depth is in. It's colorful, it's entertaining, it's Mushroom Wars - a download that isn't the very best game that you'll find on the PlayStation Store, but to deny it as one of the better games available would be a mistake in and of itself.
Please Note: The views expressed in this message are the views of the review author, who is in no way affiliated with SCEA or PlayStation.com.