Friday, 18 January 2019 14:59

Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon Review

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Shawarmageddon Outta Here

I’m not a fan of auto-moving strategy games. While I’m middling at best at full RTS games like Starcraft and Supreme Commander, I’ve always found the tactical depth in those games to be interesting. Needless to say, Swords and Soldiers 2: Shawarmageddon had a lot of ground to cover to actually impress me. Much to my surprise, it did. While the opening jokes struck me as overly cheesy and the levels too simplistic, the further I delved into this title, the more interesting I found it. By the end, I found myself laughing along and wondering what new mechanic the game would introduce as the levels progressed.

Auto-meat-ic Warfare

For those that don’t know, auto-moving strategy games are a specific subgenre of real-time strategy games wherein you can gather resources and spawn troops, but only have limited control over where these units move. They will automatically move from one side of the screen to another and attack opposing units and structures as they come across them. This generally makes them less tactically complex than their standard brothers, but also generally faster in playtime. Shawarmageddon is both of these, surely, but the varied amount of units and spells at your disposal keeps things fun and fast paced.

The game itself is essentially separated into two mission types: story missions and open missions. Both mission types have optional challenges to earn more medals, but the basic goal is always to destroy your opponent’s base. To do this, you have units and spells which each cost their own resource, typically gold for units and mana for spells, though there are exceptions. Story missions will see you use a predetermined set of units and spells and are frequently used to introduce a new mechanic. The meat of the gameplay is in the open missions where you can choose your own units to use against your opponent.

So where do the tactics come in? Well, each unit moves the same speed as every other unit. While you can certainly build units one at a time and watch them march across the level, it won’t work in the later levels when the challenge ramps up. Without spells and building units, it would just be a matter of building up a massive amount of resources to build a massive army and just swarm your opponent. These two additions allow you to change the movement of your or your opponent’s units. Further, you have to spend resources to unlock units during the course of a mission, even in open missions. While you’ll want to rush your stronger, higher-tier units, the question is whether you can afford it or not.

Nordic Nonsense

Shawarmageddon’s story is as ridiculous as the name implies. You play as the Viking Redbeard as he traverses across the world in search of shawarma, which eventually leads him into a plot to destroy the world. As hokey as it sounds, the dialogue and units got the occasional chuckle out of me. One thing struck me as odd as I played through, though. Most of the game is voice acted. The major cutscenes and unit dialogue are voice acted, but the in-game dialog boxes are voiced over with this generic garble. It doesn’t ruin anything much, but it harms the delivery of some of the lines in these cutscenes.

The art style is cartoonish but definitive. Each unit model is distinct with its own profile. Each unit set, between Vikings, Persians, and demons, all have their own visual coherence while still looking like they go together when intermixed. While it didn’t bother me during my playthrough, there are only so many lines the different units will say and you will be spawning many, many units. This can lead to some of the jokes becoming stale and boring.


The Verdict: Great

Swords and Soldiers 2: Shawarmageddon actually changed my mind about auto-moving strategy games. While I won’t be going out of my way to find more games in this genre, it was fun enough to hold my attention for its short, four-hour timespan. Fans of the genre will certainly find something to love, and those looking for a short, casual game will be pleased by it.

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John Gerritzen

John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.