Welcome to a turn-based strategy game with an ever diminishing battlefield.
Greed Corp, developed by W! Games and available on XBLA and PSN, is the first game in a series that are to be set in their very own MistBound Universe. There are four different armies available in this turn based strategy offering, each one offering a slightly different perspective on this game world. I am sure that these perspectives will be built upon in the future games, but for the purposes of this game there is really not that much between the four armies.
The game is played across a map consisting of hexagonal tiles, by up to four armies, with a decent campaign available in single player, alongside an interesting multiplayer mode. Players will first be offered a tutorial to work through, explaining the basics of the game. Whilst adequately showing the player how to play this game, the tutorial does nothing to explain the intricate tactics that will be needed to actually win. This will, as a result, leave players with a rather steep learning curve through the first few missions of the campaign. Players jumping straight into multiplayer should expect to have their backsides handed to them on a plate.
There is not much to learn so far as the basics are concerned. Players need resources to buy equipment. This is handled by Harvesters. They are cheap to buy and will provide the means to buy other necessities. Armouries can be built to create your troops, or walkers, as they are known. The player can have up to 16 walkers on any one hex. Cannons are the games only artillery, allowing players to attack hexagons from a distance. Shells for your cannons have to be bought individually, and are quite pricey. Carriers are used to simply transport your troops to other positions on the field.
Here is where the fun stuff starts. By placing a Harvester on a hex, the player starts gathering resources from that, and surrounding, tiles. However, each turn that your Harvester does its job, the tile it is on will be damaged and will eventually crumble and fall away. The six surrounding tiles will also be damaged. This opens up some very interesting tactical choices, which can be hard to grasp in the beginning. Harvest too quickly, in order to build a quick military supremacy, and the player will find themselves defending a single hex, cut off from the other armies. However, harvest too slowly and you risk being overrun.
In the early turns, which are limited to one minute each, the player can make great advances using Walkers to capture tiles and advance on the enemy. Combat is fairly simple and just involves moving more Walkers onto a tile than your enemy has on said tile. No complicated statistics needed, and no lucky dice rolls. This game is all down to skill.
However, as the tiles fall away and the battlefield diminishes, the Cannons and Carriers become far more important. In the first few games I found myself marooned on a single tile, with no way of reaching my enemy, whilst they slowly, with what I imagine to be a smug look on their faces, pounded my hex with cannon fire until the battle was lost.
I recommend that players work through a fair chunk of the single player campaign before tackling the multiplayer game. Up to four players can compete, either online or locally, with unmanned armies being controlled by the AI. Then the fun begins. Playing against other human players opens a whole new level of strategy and will lead to some seriously well fought battles.
W! Games have created an interesting twist on the turn-based strategy game. What starts out looking like a reasonably simple game, soon shows itself to be a deep, frustrating, yet incredibly fun title.