Swords and Soldiers HD (Wii U eShop) Review

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Two Tribes is certainly no stranger to the Wii U eShop. They have previously released the highly anticipated sequel, Toki Tori 2, and a series of updated, classic Two Tribes games for an unbeatable price. Now, they have remade another classic Two Tribes game for the Wii U eShop, complete with high-res HD graphics and Wii U GamePad integration. This remake is known as Swords and Soldiers HD, a game that originally enjoyed a release on the WiiWare service in June of 2009. I never played the game when it was first released on the Wii, though I’ve spent many hours challenging Swords and Soldiers HD on the Wii U.

Swords and Soldiers HD is a simplified real-time strategy (RTS) game that is presented with a side-scrolling perspective. Players control a team of soldiers based on one of three ethnic groups – Vikings, Aztecs, and Chinese – and must summon troops to carry out battle with the opposing team. While many RTS features appear in Swords and Soldiers HD – mining for gold, summoning troops, and building towers – they are presented with a simplified approach that makes Swords and Soldiers HD easy to learn and play for RTS newbies.

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You will be responsible for only a handful of activities, all of which are easily manipulated with the Wii U GamePad. On the Wii U GamePad, you must touch icons to build troops and towers, summon spells, or to advance through your skill tree. Building troops and upgrading your team comes at the cost of gold, which is gathered by special units, while summoning spells comes at the cost of mana. What differentiates Swords and Soldiers HD from other RTS games is that you have no direct control over your troops. Instead, when they are summoned, they begin advancing toward your opponent and will automatically fight opposing troops when they come across them. Taking direct control away from the player is an interesting choice, but Two Tribes has done a fantastic job of making it work in Swords and Soldiers HD.

Players can also use the Wii Remote if they wish – utilizing the IR pointer to select options on the TV screen – though I preferred the Wii U GamePad. Using the Wii Remote does work just fine, though selecting icons on the Wii U GamePad is much faster, which is especially important during the tougher rounds.

There are a few ways to play Swords and Soldiers including campaign mode, skirmishes, and challenges. The campaign mode consists of three campaigns, with each one based on the three ethnic groups in the game. Skirmishes are single encounters that can be played against the computer, or another player. Lastly, there are three challenges that are unlocked after completing a group’s campaign mode. Of the three, I spent the majority of my time with the campaign modes, though I will commend Two Tribes for including a lot of maps – small, medium, and large – in the skirmish mode, as well as some neat distractions in the game’s challenge modes.

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I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the campaign modes in Swords and Soldiers HD. Each campaign is made up of 10 missions, all of which have similar objectives – such as destroying certain objects, or defending for a set amount of time. While the gameplay is strikingly similar throughout all three campaigns, each group has special units and spells that make each experience feel fresh. For the most part, each mission can easily be conquered, though there were a few that kept me on my toes for up to 30 minutes at a time. Knowing which units and spells to use will be the key to victory in some of those longer, tougher missions.

As its title suggests, Swords and Soldiers has received a wonderful HD upgrade. The game’s world and characters drip with personality and look absolutely gorgeous on my HD TV. While the graphics are fantastic, they can only be fully enjoyed if you’re playing with a Wii Remote. However, the game still looks great on the Wii U GamePad’s screen.

Final Thoughts:
Swords and Soldiers HD is another great Wii U offering from Two Tribes. The game controls beautifully with the Wii U GamePad and there are approximately 3 to 4 hours of gameplay in the game’s campaign mode – many more if you enjoy multiplayer skirmishes. There is currently no online multiplayer or DLC, but the game is a steal at its $2.99 price point on the Wii U eShop.

8.5/10 – Great

Review copy provided by Two Tribes

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  • http://chalgyrsgameroom.blogspot.com/ Chalgyr

    Pretty similar to a lot of my own thoughts when I had a chance to play it. I’m not terribly GOOD at it, but I do enjoy the game quite a bit. It’s a nice set-up for the upcoming sequel as well, and when I reviewed it I scored this title about the same. :)

    • http://www.minifortress.com/ MF_Parko

      I had a peek at your review before writing my own and our thoughts we’re close. It took a few rounds for me to get used to the gameplay, but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did.