Wii

North America

Swords & Soldiers

by Chuck Jose - August 13, 2009, 12:41 pm PDT
Total comments: 3

8.5

Ronimo Games offers up a humorous, superb real-time strategy game with minor issues present.

It's rare for a WiiWare title to blow me away. Ronimo Games however created a gem not to be missed. Ronimo was founded by the same creators of the prototype design for de Blob. Swords & Soldiers (S&S) has not only destroyed my expectations of downloadable games, but also made me realize that real-time strategy (RTS) games can actually be good on the Wii. With S&S being their first title, Ronimo is already proving their company's worth.

This isn't your grandfather's RTS game. The whole game takes place on a 2D playing field, allowing your units to only move left or right. Having RTS gameplay on a 2D plane is reminiscent of Grim Grimoire on Playstation 2, except Sword & Soldiers has a lot more charm.

Swords & Soldiers’ gives an experience that players can enjoy with its simple menus, slick animations, and beautiful drawings. The art style alone is amazing. Ronimo definitely created S&S with a gamer's humor in mind. Gamers can find themselves enjoying the iconic '60s Batman-esque scene transitions, nerdy achievement titles, and simple-yet-innocent plotlines.

Like a typical RTS game, S&S features your basic resources collecting, different factions to choose from, a variety of units to build, upgrade trees to learn, and bases to rush. All of this can be done with only the Wii Remote. Move the cursor to the left and right of the field to scroll the map; click on buttons at the top of the screen to either build or upgrade units. There are three factions: Vikings, Aztecs, and Imperial Chinese, each balanced with its own set of units and skills. Some units are good for up-close combat, while others are more suited to attack from afar. It's not only your units you have to worry about; each faction has its own magical skills. The Vikings have the brute strength, with freezing spells and electrical bolts; they're also the only faction capable of healing. The Imperial Chinese have skills focused on summoning extra warriors who can attack ranged units. The Aztecs have the power of the undead, combined with the ability to set traps and poison enemies. Each skill requires the use of mana, which is replenished over time.

The main campaign offers ten missions for each faction. To beat each mission you basically have to take over the enemy's base. Missions can vary in difficulty and some can add requirementsto make it more challenging. They could have a time limit or only allow certain units to be used. Other ones can provide a change of pace (such as tower defense). Even though the campaign only lasts seven hours each mission is different and enjoyable enough to play through that the length didn't matter so much. It could have been longer, but it's impressive that all of it was even fit into a WiiWare title. The campaign story isn't generic either; it contains just as much charm as the presentation, and is unique for an RTS game. Ronimo tailored the story to the cartoon-like experience the game provides.

Although the story plays very well to the game's strengths, the true beauty is that every overwhelmingly complicated aspect of traditional RTS games is thrown out the window. What remains is a slick interface, allowing the player to unleash everything given to them with the ease of a point-and-click interface. With gold being the only resource to collect, all your time can be spent deciding which troops to send out. With the simple push of a button at the top of the screen, a unit instantly pops out of home base marching towards the other side of the screen. Depending on the terrain and/or available buildings, your units will continue marching until they reach the enemy headquarters or die trying. Some maps have splitting paths that separate into a high road and a low road. In these cases, the path a unit takes is determined by the click of an arrow. This can be strategic, for one path may contain more enemies, but also more gold to harvest. It's simple mechanics like these that remove any tedious micro-managing, allowing the player to direct their attention to the main draw of the game: the tug-of-war confrontations.

When units from one force encounter enemy units it creates a point of contest. Units don't have the ability to pass enemies, so your units bunch up at one focus point and unleash all of their attacks. The focus point can move back and forth given the strength of one army, but it's this tug-of-war gameplay that makes battles tense and fast-paced. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to select specific units when all of your units are bunched up; healthbars on top of each troop becomes hard to see, and clicking on the right unit to heal becomes a challenge. The same problem exists with special attacks directed towards the enemy, as too often a regular unit is targeted instead of the intended larger unit.

In the single-player campaign, the computer offers very strong resistance that forces the player to plan his attacks. I found myself having to retry missions frequently due to the brute strength of the computer. Figuring out which units to send out at the right time becomes the strategy and adds complexity to the seemingly simple system. Knowing there's a magic caster coming ahead, do you send out melee troops or axe throwers? These are questions you will have to answer on a regular basis.

Aside from the single-player campaign, there are additional modes. There's a practice Skirmish mode and several mini-game challenges. The mode with the most replay value is the two-player Skirmish. These are just like normal battles, but your opponent is a human being. Spread across nine varied maps, these battles are just as intense as those in the campaign. An in-game achievement system also rewards you for accomplishments, like destroying an enemy base with a boulder or controlling 50 units at once. No unlockables can be won from gaining achievements, but they are goals one can work towards for more replayability.

With the creation of the de Blob prototype and now Swords & Soldiers, Ronimo Games is definitely an up-and-coming developer. You can't find any other game like this one on Wii. For a WiiWare title, the production value is over the top. Despite not providing a deep RTS experience, it will still provide enough enjoyment to make strategy fans happy. Some control issues are present, and online multiplayer is missed, but consider this a game to add to your collection. With its quirkiness and charm, Swords & Soldiers is an astounding game.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
9 9 8.5 8.5 7 8.5
Graphics
9

Swords & Soldiers is one of the best-looking games on Wii. It features rich cartoon graphics and slick animation.

Sound
9

S&S has fantastic orchestral music. The grunts and sound effects are amazing as well, not to mention the comical voice acting.

Control
8.5

This is how to do a point-and-click RTS on the Wii console. Everything is streamlined and easy to manage with a simple click of a button.

Gameplay
8.5

When matches last up to 30 minutes, it proves how tense the action can be. Fast-paced battles always keep you on your toes. Lots of varying abilities also make commanding each faction a different gameplay experience.

Lastability
7

The single-player campaign won't last you very long, but you can find plenty more to do with the mini-games and two-player matches.

Final
8.5

Do not pass up your chance to check this game out. If you're a fan of real-time strategy games, you should definitely give this one a go. Even if you're not, Swords & Soldiers provides a wonderful introduction to the world of RTS games, with simple-to-learn controls and plenty of strategy.

Summary

Pros
  • Great art style
  • One of the achievements is entitled "RickRolled"
  • Simple yet deep strategy
  • Streamlined interface
Cons
  • No online multiplayer
  • Short campaign
  • Some control issues
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

DAaaMan64August 13, 2009

I intend to get this, I've been in love with WiiWare stuff for a while now. (Hence why I've been at Nintendo Life a lot.)

Thanks for the review, I'm buying this later this week.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)August 14, 2009

Very well structured and informative review. Nice one.
I already have the game and I have enjoyed it to such an extent that it's now my favourite WiiWare title, so I hope this will encourage more people to buy it.
If anybody is sitting on the fence about purchasing Swords & Soldiers, let me remind you...
One of the units is a Ninja Monkey. Which has awesome sound effects. And it hits guys in the face with smoke bombs. Then it teleports.

Leo13May 16, 2013

So I just saw that this game came out on 3DS today and that it's multi-player (or at least it was on wiiware.
When someone downloads the 3DS version will you let me know if the multi-player is download play (only requires the purchase of one game) and if the multiplayer is fun.
Thanks

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Genre Strategy
Developer Ronimo Games
Players1 - 2
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Swords & Soldiers
Release Jun 08, 2009
PublisherRonimo Games
RatingEveryone 10+
eu: Swords & Soldiers
Release May 15, 2009
PublisherRonimo Games
Rating12+

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