By Steve Baltimore / July 8th, 2013
|Title: Swords & Soldiers 3D
Publisher: Circle Entertainment
Developer: Ronimo Games
Release Date: June 8th, 2009
Platforms: Wii, PC, Mac, Mobile, 3DS eShop
Age Rating: T
*Note: This title was reviewed on the 3DS, your experience may vary depending on which platform you choose to play this title on.
Being a fan of good ole fashioned RTS games, I was pretty stoked at the chance to get my hands on Swords & Soldiers 3D. At first glance, the game gave me the feeling of an older side-scrolling Warcraft game. After spending some time with it however, I have found that some things are not always as they seem.
There is not much of a story to this title. The main game is divided up into three campaigns – Vikings, Aztec, and Chinese. Each campaign consists of ten missions. Each different mission has a bit of story to it such as defend the BBQ pit from the invaders, free your warriors to destroy the enemy base, and so forth. At first, only the Viking Campaign will be available, but once you complete it another campaign will be unlocked. Some of these scenarios in the missions are quite humorous. I mean, I never thought I would play an RTS where I would be trying to defeat a giant mind-controlled pepper.
The graphics are very bright and colorful. The designs of the characters are nicely done, from the Viking Warriors to the Aztec Necromancers, each character is drawn colorfully and uniquely. The stages are mostly plain. You have a snow stage, grass stage and so on. There is nothing about them that really stands out. The 3D works pretty well with this one. The images pop out of the screen and still have a very nice look about them. One complaint I have is when there are tons of units on the screen, the game begins to lag pretty bad. This slowdown does not really affect the gameplay that much, unless you are trying to target a spell, but it is kind of annoying. If you find the game too challenging on the normal difficulty, there is a slow game speed option. Although, if you use this mode, you cannot unlock any of the in-game achievements.
The music is about as plain as you can get. There is nothing wrong with it, but there really is not anything notable about it either. The sound effects are pretty decent, with units saying one-liners, sounds of swords in battle, and the grunts and groans of death. The sound effects all fit the game seamlessly and are pretty much what you would expect to find in this type of game.
The gameplay at first is a basic RTS-styled game. The bottom screen displays all of the different units you can create. There is an arrow pointing up on the bottom left of the screen; if you click this, you can upgrade your units or spells. As you upgrade certain units, other will become available for you to use. You can look at the arrows on screen to see which units you need to upgrade to unlock the other units or spells. Most stages start you out with a few gold gathering units, since you need gold to create or upgrade units. You can create up to 10 units to gather gold at a time. Each different race features their own units to produce; for example, the Vikings are able to produce a large catapult, whereas the Aztecs can produce a Sun Giant, which is basically a big lizard. The units and spells for each race are balanced well, so one side doesn’t really feel any more powerful than the other, although, the CPU always seems to be able to produce gold and MP faster than you for some reason.
Where things start to fall apart is in the spell casting department. When you cast a spell, it consumes some MP. Your MP will regenerate over time, and you can purchase upgrades or use certain skills to make it regenerate faster. You have to aim the spell by moving the stylus around on the bottom screen. This will move an arrow around on the top screen. The cursor jumps around like mad most of the time, so it is really more luck than skill if you can get one of these to go where you want it to go. Once you have the spell where you want it, you press the L trigger to activate it. This is the most clumsy interface I have ever seen. The L and R triggers on my 3DS XL are bigger than the smaller 3DS and I had a hard time clicking them down. I could not imagine trying to do that on the smaller one.
This title features a few different modes such as Campaign, Skirmish, and Challenges. Skirmish mode allows you to pick any of the three races for yourself and the CPU opponent, and battle it out on all the different maps in the game. Challenges consist of three mini games; Survival, Berserker Run, and Boulder. You unlock these by completing certain stages in campaign mode. In Survival, you see how long you can make it before being wiped out. In Beserker Run, you have one unit and you try to keep him alive as long as you can, only using spells. This is about impossible given the magic control scheme in this game. For Boulder Run, you have a boulder rolling down a hill. While you do not control the boulder’s speed, you make it jump by pressing the A button. Use this function to crush as many enemy units as possible without killing your own units.
Overall, this title could have been a lot better. The Campaign mode takes about 6 hours to complete. There are some in-game achievements to unlock, but I doubt with the horrible controls that many will want to suffer through enough of this to unlock all of them. The lack of any sort of mulitplayer mode really hurts this one as it would have added some much needed playtime. For its $7.99 price tag, I feel there are much better titles on the eShop for your hard earned cash.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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