30/07/2018

๐Ÿ„ Review: Mushroom Wars 2 - "It’s….it’s….it’s a mobile port" ๐Ÿ„

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Game Title: Mushroom Wars 2
Developer: Zillion Whales
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
I just wanted to say something to preface my review. I have never been a fan of mobile games and generally avoid playing them or reviewing them as I have a general disdain for their design and marketing. My problem is, “games as a service” has basically been the default model on mobile from the start, so now the expectation is that all games will be “free to start”. 

The idea of paying for a complete experience upfront is completely alien to the mobile gaming community – Nintendo tried it with Super Mario Run, but even a brand like that couldn’t break the mould.  I tend to find that mobile gaming has dragged gaming back into the dark ages: excessively monetised, with mindless gameplay. The F2P business model encourages occupation of time rather than quality of time, which is why they’re designed to be so addictive. So they’re not just aiming for the lowest common denominator, they’re preying upon the lowest impulses of human beings.
With that out of the way…
Mushroom Wars 2 is a mobile port of an iOS game from 2016 that plays out as a simplistic and accessible RTS game. When I was watching the introduction, a quite impressive scene with soaring music and some epic scene setting showing a nuclear mushroom cloud and the following rise of various mushroom clans, I was quite in the zone, I liked the watercolour-esque, worn characters and the idea of a post-nuclear setting where fungi reigns supreme, battling each other over land ownership. There are also a few game modes on offer with single player, local multiplayer and online multiplayer as options, which is nice.
The game started and it instantly became apparent that it was a mobile title brought over to the Switch and oddly, the touch-screen controls had been removed, as though the game were trying to nonchalantly whistle whilst looking at its cuticles, pretending that it was never a mobile title in the first place. I knew of course that it had to be….because it was grind-heavy, simplistic and tedious.
The game looks good and plays smoothly, the pseudo-realistic characters from the intro and title screen complete with epic landscapes give way to cartoonish in-game visuals although they are accompanied by music that remains of a pleasantly high-quality. The game boils down to looking at numbers, though. The aim of the game is to take over the opposing teams’ mushroom villages and you do this by directing your army towards them and if you have more soldiers than them, you win. As the game progresses, you get various heroes and towers that give extra attack bonuses or features such as generating soldiers faster but the core mechanic is clicking on an enemies’ village and trying to whittle down their numbers in order to take it over until they have none left. In Mushroom Wars 2, if you start to lose, it’s hard to come back from because it’s such a straight numbers game. I started to glaze over within seconds of the first screen as I began to realise that it’s just about clicking things as fast as possible, can you click faster that your opponent? Then you’ve won.
The game has some longevity with two chapters and the first one alone holds 189 levels, so if you like the game you’ll get value out of it but I’m just not sure who this will appeal to. As a mobile game, it is clear that a lot of the content was held back behind a pay wall and you probably had to either grind or just buy your way past certain levels but here with all the content released upfront, the tedium of the admittedly pretty game is laid bare. I’ve read that online modes are more fun but it doesn’t change the intrinsic game play mechanics of clicking as fast as you can whilst looking at numbers. The fact that they’ve removed touch-screen support is baffling because the game was clearly designed for speed, which using thumb-sticks only slows down.
Summary
I know it sounds like I’m giving this game a right kicking, but I could probably copy and paste this review for a vast amount of mobile ports. They seem to be aimed at people who want to pass time blankly as opposed to enjoying themselves and whilst I have no issue with that (I understand that gaming caters to all), I can’t get any enthusiasm whatsoever for these games. If you do feel a burning desire to play Mushroom Wars 2, there’s really no benefit to playing on the Switch, just get it on your phone instead.
P.S - I have growing concerns over the quality of games coming across in the Nintendo e-shop. The Wii had physical shovelware, the Wii U was pretty barren in the third-party support department and now the Switch has digital shovelware creeping in in the form of these mobile ports.
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)
 
Review By Britt