PAX East 2014: First Impressions – Swords & Soldiers II (Wii U)

If you’re looking for a colorful game on the Wii U, Swords & Soldiers II is going to fulfill all those expectations right off the bat. The Romino Games booth and its couch, plus this game, certainly recreated the atmosphere of sitting at home on a Saturday morning, getting comfy and playing a game for hours on end… of course in this case, it’s just a demo, and the room you’re in is ridiculously noisy. Still, halfway there!

Swords & Soldiers II is a Wii U exclusive, a simple RTS that’s on a 2D playing field. Most of the time you’re literally just working with one land, using your controller to select units for creation or casting a spell. Players earn cash to spend on units and battlefield spells, and unit placement is as strategic as you’d expect an RTS to be. Now, since everything mostly runs in one line, you’re going to be sacrificing the units at the front of the lane first, so your strategy has to take into account the amount of damage coming from the enemy on those front units and how you want to take advantage of your spells in the lineup.

The GamePad is used to select units and spells, which means you need to pay attention to the touchscreen and the main screen together. It becomes more intuitive after a few minutes of play, and actually makes it easier to select what you need, rather than trying to navigate through a wheel menu on the screen where the action’s taking place.

The real appeal of Swords & Soldiers II comes from its humor. It’s been clear from the first announcement of this game that is isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and the cartoon style of animation shows that from the get-go. The demo story has to do with meeting your grandpa for golf, or a barbeque, or something, and then we have to defend the barbeque grill for awhile before finally destroying the enemy base… and so on. It’s silly and weird, and you’re playing Red Beard, who will be familiar to players of the first Swords & Soldiers.

From healing hams to completely sauced front-line units charging your enemies (with a pint still in hand), the game is silly, funny, and easy to grasp. If you’re a hard-line RTS player who needs srs bznss in your RTS games, you want to skip this one. If you’re everyone else—even folks who don’t normally play RTS style games—this is a possibility for several hours of pure enjoyment.

Keep an eye on the Wii U eShop, as this will be heading there sometime in the next few months.

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Faith
Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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