Mushroom Wars 2 is a node-style real-time strategy game coming to Steam, Xbox One, PS4 as well as on the Android and Apple stores.
First impressions of the game start very well, a cute little mushroom general raising his sword to the sky, accompanied by an adorable and yet equally valiant mushroom people war tune… Mushroom Wars, (although a node-style strategy game,) innovates the genre in a very fulfilling way with the ability to easily upgrade buildings, or change their function for 30 mushroom people, which act as your army and currency within the game. There are three main types of buildings. Houses, which generate new mushroom people, towers, which fire upon enemy troops as they approach and forges, raising the morale (and therefore attack and defence strength) of your army. With this simple addition, the game takes on a whole new depth compared to its peers, and to that end it must be commended.
And that is where the bugs started. Moreover, “bug”, singular. But this one bug forced me to restart the game six times in the tutorials alone, as the game’s screen would grey out and simply cease to function, forcing me to restart within 3 minutes of starting up for the first time. Proofreading the game would also not go amiss, some of the loading screen tips are grammatically very poor, but at least the message is conveyed.
For a node-style game, a surprising amount of effort has gone into it. Your little mushroom army run around buildings in their way in a very intuitive manner, and other little details (such as dust around upgrading buildings) make the game come to life in a way unexpected of its genre. I would like to make clear that if it delivers on its promises for the full game, I would recommend Mushroom Wars 2 if it costs £15 or less, which seems like a fair price. It is well crafted and handled in a genuinely surprising manner. That being said, it would be unprofessional to not list all the problems it brings with it.
The bugs are not numerous, but the small amount of bugs that do exist occur frequently enough to deter a newcomer to the game, hopefully these will be ironed out. Mushroom Wars also has the “emote” system of communication that seems to be growing more and more prolific among 1-on-1 strategy games, though matches can consist of up to four players. Such examples would be the ever-loved HearthStone, clicking on your character and selecting one of a few quips from their pool of quips. This in itself is a problem for me, but doesn’t necessarily detract from the game. The main issue that these emotes don’t actually convey any sense of personality to the different characters as it does in other games, as they are all, in essence the same emote, just with different characters.
Another issue that presents in the game, (which is not an issue in and of itself) is the fact that the servers were populated almost exclusively by Russians, typing in Russian, which can and most definitely will offer a more intimidating environment to anyone trying the game for the first time. This is sure to be a none-issue on release, however, as many people of many nationalities will be sure to purchase the game. The Beta promised a campaign mode on full release, and it is fairly disappointing that there was not even a taster of that campaign in the trial run, but if handled well, the campaign will surely be a welcome addition to the game.
Within the main value of the Beta (the multiplayer) you are permitted to select one of four Heroes each with their own abilities, one based on death and fear, happily clad in bone armour, and alien looking mushroom man, one almost not worth mentioning in terms of looks, and then there is the hero that presented a confusing sense of disconnect with the game’s overall feel. Mushroom Wars seems to be themed around cute little mushroom people fighting to the death for no apparent reason (at least without the campaign, the reason is not presented). Yet there is one hero that is very weirdly sexualised, Clad in a sort of feral fur bikini skirt and her breasts are very barely covered. It simply seems to be too much apart from the tone of the rest of Mushroom Wars’ experience that it detracts from the consistency.
It bears reiterating, however, that this is a game I could recommend for gamer’s who like the node-style gameplay, even if the multiplayer is a bit silent and inhospitable, easily remedied by having some friends to play private matches with.