When Creat Studios’ Mushroom Wars launched exclusively on the PlayStation Network back in 2009 we were treated to a unique arcade strategy game which managed to grab an impressive score of 8 here at TSA, faring just as well elsewhere averaging at around the 7.5 mark.
What we loved about Mushroom Wars was its simplicity. Instead of directing individual units of soldiers, gathering materials from pre-set nodes and building complex settlements, players were instead given a small cluster of buildings including towers, forges, and villages. Objectives varied but always incredibly streamlined either tasking players with capturing specific points on the battlefield or to wipe out their opponent(s) entirely.
In real time, mushroom soldiers slowly populate occupied villages. Using the simple cursor controls, players select buildings and simply direct either a quarter, half, three quarters or all available soldiers to where their arrow is pointing. By capturing towers and forges, you are able to repel invading enemies with projectile attacks and even reinforce your own fungi fighters, Mushroom Wars suddenly becoming a game of decisive, rapid tactical play.
However, one qualm we had was the complete lack of a competitive online multi-player. Though it took over a year to launch, last December Mushroom Wars Online finally arrived on the PlayStation Network and mostly lived up to our expectations.
For a reasonable entry fee players could now access MW’s match-making options, also supplemented with a “subscribe” feature. As gamers, waiting in online lobbies is never something we relish, subscribing now allowed players to continue their single-player exploits whilst searching for opponents. This form of “background match-making” isn’t exactly new, but imagine the benefits of implementing such a system in the upcoming wave of online shooters.
Spectating is also another highlight feature, throwing you into a random skirmish in which you can monitor player techniques and behaviours. Though spectating is usually overlooked by the masses, if you were to start playing Mushroom Wars Online in the near future it becomes almost essential.
No doubt there are still a few greenhorn generals skulking around the servers, but for the most part you will come face to face with players who know the game inside out. If you don’t fancy getting to grips with some of the more advanced elements of the game, the Mushroom Wars Online expansion is certainly a no-go.
With that said the single-player portion still holds up wonderfully, ideal for anyone looking for a dose of swift strategy.