With an ever increasing workforce though, Multiwinia
was always in danger of becoming too difficult for it’s own good and swamping first-time players with too many units to handle. Thankfully, it’s all made a little easier by the introduction of officers.
Changing a Darwinian soldier to an Officer is the easiest way to get your troops to do anything and will result in one soldier with a flag who stays where he is and orders all nearby troops wherever you want. It’s that or you can make an Officer take control of a squad, which results in a stronger but slower moving block of neon troopers.
So, again, Multiwinia
sounds easier than it is. You can just set one officer to keep flooding the enemy base with soldiers until the tide turns, right? Wrong. It’s never that simple.
Firstly, that tactic isn’t ever going to get you anywhere. With no resources to be gathered, your enemy will just keep meeting your push or moving around your assault. Then there’s the fact that the different levels rarely leave it as easy as that and you’ll have to both defend and push through the various paths through the terrain if you want to win.
Then the second thing to bear in mind is the weapon crates; that old Worms
stalwart which drops down from the sky like nuclear manna from heaven, each of them holding some truly bizarre, fatal payload. The crates really are one of the highlights of the game and every time you send out a troop to capture a crate there’s the enjoyably agonizing waiting period where you wonder what tragedy might befall your enemy while you gather the supply.
Then, when you do get the weapons, they never fail to disappoint. There are tanks, turrets (which you can seize direct control of), airstrikes and nuclear barrages. Then there’s the weird stuff; killer ants which swarm the battlefield indiscriminately, UFOs that pass overhead, trees that can be planted to form evil, soul-destroying forests and plenty, plenty more.
That said, it isn’t all roses and glow for Multiwinia
and there is the occasional concrete donkey which lays waste to a few things. The controls for example, while up to the task and certainly very easy to get your head around, aren’t as intuitive as you might think and it’s fairly clear that the PC version of the game is using the same system as the Xbox 360. It isn’t possible to group units together by dragging over them for example – you have to select batches by holding down the left mouse button.
Some of the different game modes too are a tiny bit unbalanced, especially the Assault game mode. This mode sees the player either defending or assaulting a huge base with a WMD in the center. The aim is to either protect or topple that missile within the time limit, but the whole thing is made incredibly difficult by the design of most levels. Even with Hard AI the enemy never made it past our second line of defence and with Easy AI we still couldn’t get past theirs.
It’s quickly obvious that though Multiwinia
is most directly based on Darwinia
, what it actually is is a spiritual successor to DEFCON
and the entire aim of the game is on small, lunch-time filling skirmishes rather than long drawn-out campaigns. It’s a hole that Multiwinia
There’s a lot of things to like about Multiwinia
and a lot of that stems from the fact that it’s almost impossible to overdose on the game thanks to the short twenty-minute levels and the fast, almost strenuous pace of the game. One thing we like especially is the bond you build with your troops and how the game turns this on you on some levels – especially that one Assault level where you’ll see hundreds of your men instantly incinerated and die screaming before you can rescue their spawn points from the enemy.
isn’t a game with massive longevity it has to be said – this is casual strategy in the same way that Audiosurf
is casual action, but casual isn’t always a bad thing and the game is at least priced appropriately. In fact, when the game is that cheap then there’s really no reason not to get it! Delightful and simple to understand, Multiwinia
may have suffered a little as a result of the move to console and it may be a tad untweakable on the graphics side, but this is a part of the charm and very much a one-size fits all casual crowd pleaser with a twist. We love it.