Game Review: Swords and Soldiers

Since the Wii has hit the market i've been saying that it is the console that will allow for decent strategy play. And so far there have been very few attempts to make it work. That said my understanding of Wii sales is that the console, Nintendo, Sega games and Guitar Hero have made up most of the sales, and everything else has been gimmicky nonsense. Wiiware is really populated with a lot of mini-games, and this may or may not reflect exactly on the demographic that own Nintendo Wiis. But then there is Swords and Soldiers. As a strategy fan, it had to be bought.

The thing that interested and worried me the most about this game was the fact that it is side scrolling strategy. I'd never heard of that concept before this, so i was very wary of the 1000 Wii points i spent. At first the game strikes you with the great visual style. Cartoony interface and fun sounds and music make a good first impression, however you instantly know this isn't going to be a hardcore 100+ unit strat game. I wasn't expecting depth at first glance, but it is true that a good strat game doesn't need complexity. And the gameplay really illustrates that.

The single player storyline is ridiculous, but tongue in cheek from the start. You're a Viking, preparing a BBQ and your butcher is attacked. You then need to send troops to save him. Hilariously thought at, and at no point meant to be serious. The feel of the game fits in perfectly with the story and makes for an enjoyable laugh.

But this still doesn't tell you how a side scrolling strategy holds up. Gameplay is vital in a strat game, which is why most strat gamers are still playing Starcraft and not any of the newer games. So here's the deal: Its good. At first it's odd with minimal micro management, but you grow used to the fact that you don't control individual units. To upgrade your tech tree ( which has about 10 options depending on race ), you spend gold. This normally unlocks new units and abilities. To build a unit you just click on the icon, and instantly the unit heads off to fight or mine. There is no micro of units. the maps are normally linear, so the fighting units just walk continuously in the direction of the enemy. Abilities are cast from a global mana pool ( which auto regen's and some abilities add to it ), and these give you some micro control over the battles. Dropping Aztec cages on enemies, casting Viking lighting or sending a massive Chinese Dragon across the entire battlefield are just some options you have, and they really add depth to the game. The game is well balanced with costs and cooldown times, for example, the Chinese have very slow mana regen ( unless you build a really expensive tech 3 tower ), and the Dragon costs a lot of mana, but does an immense amount of damage.

All 3 races seem to have been thought through carefully and have enough variation to feel different. Each have their own abilities, variations in tech trees and order of unlocking items that you find yourself preferring one due to personality and feel of play rather than how strong they are, which is the sign of a well balanced game.

The multiplayer is enjoyable, and although my wife is beating me on average ( this reminds me of our early Starcraft games ), i'm still excited to try and challenge her, and feel like every game has been close. The average game lasts between 3 and 10 minutes, which although short, is just long enough to not get bored with the limited choices.

Overall, a top game production, making it the most fun i've had with Wii Ware. It's not as hardcore strategy as i might like, but it is really fun and has some longevity in gameplay.


  • Really good humour
  • Well balanced gameplay
  • Multiplayer is enjoyable
  • New concept in side scrolling strategy, done very well


  • Limited number of maps
  • Not for very serious strategy


  1. I have found the lot of blogs today to see the information related to games.

  2. Marketing: This is where ubuntu succeeds. They lambast Novell and, their new best friends, Linspire for a Microsoft deal, purely to try and poach users and developers. Nice marketing! They call it Linux for Human Beings. Well call me an alien. Human beings are obviously far more soficsticated and terminal savvy than Chamelions or Penguins huh??