Release Date: October 6th, 2017
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, iOS, Android
Publisher: Zillion Whales
Developers: Zillion Whales
Genre: Real-time strategy
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Mushroom Wars 2 is a real-time strategy game with a focus on simple but intense gameplay. It doesn’t have many mechanics to learn, but getting good requires a bit of work. You not only have to watch all corners of the battlefield, but also manage everything you own while keeping an eye on what your opponent’s next move might be. This can be fun at times, but for the most part, Mushroom Wars 2 is unremarkable. There’s nothing special about it, as even the things it does right are only mildly likeable. And for every moment I enjoyed, there was a moment that I didn’t, creating quite the mediocre experience.
Mushroom Wars 2 seems to take place after a group of mushroom tribes go to war. The player then takes control of a chief mushroom on a quest to avenge an important figure. However, this is just my speculation, as there is no dialogue. The game simply flashes images at you, hoping you’ll understand what’s going on. There are some cutscenes where it’s obvious what’s happening, but for the most part, you can only guess. There are also multiple campaigns, each having you take control of a different group of mushrooms. However, cutscenes are short and rare, making it clear that the story isn’t relevant to what the game is trying to accomplish. What’s important is the actual gameplay.
Mildly Engaging Gameplay
Mushroom Wars 2 has simple controls, few mechanics, and an incredibly thin learning curve. It won’t take long to figure out what you’re doing, but being able to properly utilize your abilities can be tough.
In the vanilla game mode, your objective is to create a mushroom army and capture every other building on the map. You can do so using structures that generate more mushrooms, towers that shoot at other mushrooms, or blacksmiths that equip your mushrooms with weapons and armor. There are also twelve heroes to pick from, each one with four distinct abilities. Additionally, there’s a morale system, where your mushrooms become stronger if they do something successfully.
The mechanics are decently engaging, as dominating the enemy using powerful abilities and building a mushroom army to throw into battle is quite satisfying. The different maps also change how you fight, each one requiring a slight shift in strategy, even though these maps typically look very similar.
However, the game’s campaign fails to properly utilize the decent gameplay it has.
Too Many Missions
In the beginning, Mushroom Wars 2 tries to keep things fresh by introducing a new mechanic every other stage. However, this lasted no longer than an hour, as I realized that I was playing the same mission over and over again with only slight changes in the map design. It has you stuck with the same two heroes in the same environment on the same game mode for a long time. Even though some maps are well-made, the game quickly loses its ability to surprise you.
Once I decided I didn’t want to continue the campaign anymore, I returned to the main menu in order to play my own custom game against AI. I wanted to test out all the different maps, heroes, and game modes. I figure that there was no need to waste countless hours on the campaign just to dive into the many things the game could possibly offer.
However, there is no way to do this. You cannot create a custom game against AI, you can only do it against friends. It’s frustrating that the game doesn’t have this option, especially when there are 100+ story missions that have you fighting against AI.
It’s also pretty weird that not every map in the campaign is playable in custom games. You can only select forty duplex maps, even though there are many more in the story. Is this because the maps used in campaign are not balanced? Even if that’s the case, it wouldn’t be hard to make them balanced. All it would require is a slight shift in mushroom placements. A majority of them are already symmetrical, so you’d only have to change spawning locations or perhaps the types of buildings that are used.
Even though its campaign is repetitive, and a lack of custom games against AI makes additional content hard to access, it’s actually quite fun to battle against other players.
Player vs. Player
A seemingly large focus of the game is multiplayer, which can be played using the matchmaking system or by inviting friends to custom games.
Thankfully, the competent gameplay shines especially when fighting against other people. It’s quite intense working against another mind rather than a computer, trying to figure out the ways you could possibly outsmart your opponent. I had played a game where my enemy cornered me in the middle of the map, but I was producing enough mushrooms to halt his attacks. He would constantly try to throw me off by going to unreasonable areas, taking weird paths, or baiting me out of my buildings so he could cast a devastating ability. I was stuck defending for so long that I decided to take the initiative and strike back. I didn’t survive, as I underestimated how many troops he had in one of his huts, quickly losing the game.
You have to keep an eye a number of things such as; your production, where the enemy might strike, where the enemy is moving his troops, how many troops might be in a building, how to move your troops in order to maximize production, and where to strike to minimize casualties. There’s a lot you need to focus on, especially in contrast to a game that has such simple base mechanics. This is the most exciting part of the game, even though it can be pretty tough.
One weird aspect of the multiplayer is that you can’t invite friends through steam. The game has its own friend request system, and you can only assume that the developers did this in order to push the idea of cross-platform play. Games not utilizing steam’s already present system is annoying, but if it’s for the sake of cross-play then it makes sense.
Mushroom Wars 2 is simply unremarkable. Its lack of custom games against AI, dreadfully repetitive and overextended campaign, and hard to access content brings down what is otherwise a fun strategy game. It’s certainly engaging when fighting against other players, but this aspect is not enough to redeem it. It’s worth buying if you have a friend to play with, but otherwise, there’s not enough here to warrant a purchase.
- THE GOOD
- Mildly Entertaining Gameplay
- Engaging PvP
- THE BAD
- Dreadful Campaign
- Lack of AI Custom Games
- Additional Content is Hard to Access
Mushroom Wars 2 has decent gameplay, but there’s so much wasted potential thanks to poor design choices.