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Multiwinia: Survival of the Flattest
Score: 7.5 / 10
Multiwinia's single biggest problem -- and
really it's the only one -- is a distinct lack of competition. More
specifically, people playing online. For a game so centered on
multiplayer this is practically a death knell; the only thing that saves
Multiwinia is that the AI controlled opponents can put up enough of a
competition to offset the lack of online players.
Even hosting games doesn't alleviate the problem. I spent almost all my
time offline after many frustrating hours trying to join and host
multiplayer matches. By even saying that I might be perpetuating the
problem. After all, if no one else is playing online, why should you?
You should though. Multiwinia is a very good, goal-oriented strategy
game that is constantly in motion and demands your full attention while
playing since the developers have incorporated modes of play that are
exclusively associated with first-person
King of the Hill and Domination (control the map) modes of play should
be familiar to strategy game players. Blitzkrieg (capture the flag) and
Assault are modes that would be right at home in a first-person shooter.
Assault throws you into either a defender or attacker role. On
defence, players are heavily entrenched with an assortment of heavy
weapons but with a small force. The attackers are endlessly reinforced,
left to attack in numbers and with a bit of strategy. The goal is to
either destroy or protect a bomb in a set amount of time. When one side
"wins" the roles are switched. At the end, the overall winner is
determined by whomever managed to take out the bomb fastest.
My two favorite modes are Rocket Riot and Capture the Statue. Capture
the Statue is straightforward: collect statues (under the power of many
Multiwinians) and return them to the capture point. Running the edge of
retrieving the statues and attacking opponents to slow their own statue
collecting is a lot of fun.
Rocket Riot is all about capturing nodes to refuel your rocket. Once
that's complete, the rocket needs to be filled with 100 Multiwinians so
it can blast off. Of all the modes, I found that Rocket Riot demanded
the most concentration. Because Multiwinia doesn't feature a mini-map to
click on and the WASD keys and the mouse are used to navigate the map,
players will constantly be manaually scanning the map for new threats or
the next best target.
Multiwinia offers a high number of maps for each mode, which helps keep
the game feeling fresh. Playing the same map again and again trying to
learn its choke points and angles of attack takes some time and with so
many maps players will have to keep learning or suffer the consequences.
While the selling point of Multiwinia -- that would be, multiplayer --
is somewhat lacking in regard to number of players all the other pieces
are in place for a very satisfying experience. Hopefully Multiwinia has
a slow burn and some community builds around the title because as good a
challenge as the AI can muster, it's nothing like the variety that
online opponents can put together.
- Aaron Simmer
(October 20, 2008)
Multiwinia is scheduled to arrive on Xbox 360 in December as a download
title on Xbox Live Arcade.