Mushroom Wars 2 is a real-time strategy game that has recently released on Steam. The original Mushroom Wars first released in 2009 on the Playstation 3 console, before moving to mobile devices, and finally onto PC. This sequel successfully captures the bright look and light-hearted tone of the first game very well. Mushroom Wars 2 also brings enough additions to freshen up the series, and give it some needed depth.
The Mushroom Wars series consists of overwhelming certain points on a map with troops until that point changes allegiance for the player. The more points you control, the more troops you’ll be able to send to a point for capture. Sounds simple enough in theory, until you play and utter pandemonium is breaking out with legions of mushroom-headed troops marching slowly across the maps in every direction. There is three type of points that can be captured and upgraded. Bases produce soldiers, while forges produce weapons and armor buffs for the troops, and last, the tower location defends a wide area from incoming armies. Players can change a base into a tower or forge, but this move (as well as all upgrades) costs mushroom soldiers.
Conquering the map requires timing and a sense of knowing when to upgrade a location or when to defend it. Mindless advancement can result in defeat as an opposing faction may flank your vital rear bases in the process. Mushroom Wars 2 brings with it some interesting new features that enhance its depth. The first is an ongoing morale system for successful defenses of your bases. The bigger the defense the more stars you earn which temporarily adds defense and offensive boosts to your troops. A losing battle can suddenly turn on its head with a good Sparta-style defense, sending your newly fired up troops on the assault.
MW2 also introduces new heroes to its multiplayer and local skirmishes. These heroes each have 4 abilities that can have destructive effects on opponent armies and bases, significantly boost your own production abilities. These powers run a wide gamut; from forcing armies to march back where they came, to lowering the level of an opponents base, or resurrecting dead soldiers within a base. Contending with these new hero abilities elevates this titles from simplistic mobile RTS to a quite challenging one. The only puzzling design choice is not being able to see what the hero’s abilities are from the main selection screen, nor being able to switch AI bots’ heroes, ahead of time. Players are relegated to selecting their heroes based on the cartoon picture, and nothing more (players can hover over the abilities in the match and see a detailed popup explaining what each power does, but ain’t nobody got time fer dat’ when the match starts!).
The game’s AI is actually rather good. Easy mode is a pushover, but even Normal bots will have you clicking furiously trying to protect your real estate. The harder bots receive noticeable production advantages, forcing good players to really pick the right moment to go on the assault and when to defend. Harder levels are challenging and rewarding when mastered, and I found Mushroom Wars 2’s campaign mode far more entertaining than the first.
Mushroom Wars 2 is a definite must-buy for fans of the first game. It feels and plays like a significant upgrade, without losing any of the core gameplay mechanics from the first. It is a very charming title, and in particular loved watching my towers change form as they upgrade or my little mushroom legions flip from unarmed soldiers to pikemen or halberded warriors with each upgrade. For casual RTS fans, they may find the opening price of $14.99 on the steep side. On the same note, hardcore RTS players may feel the depth and lack of detailed micromanagement options are not to their liking. For those players, I would recommend at least tossing this title on your wishlist, and wait for a better price point. Regardless of playing against humans or AI, Mushroom Wars 2 has fantastic quick pick up and play potential that should not be overlooked.Steam Page