Swords & Soldiers – Review
Follow Genre: 2D Sidescrolling Strategy
Developer: Ronimo Games
Publisher: Ronimo Games
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Wii, PlayStation 3, iOS

Swords & Soldiers – Review

Site Score
8.3
Good: Original, graphics, gameplay
Bad: Story, unbalanced factions in online games
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Swords & Soldiers is a 2D Sidescrolling Strategy game released in 2010 for pc, but it got more attention again since the Steam sales. Why this game got some attention again? That’s what we wanted to find out. At first glance you might compare the game with games like Warcraft and Age of Empires in 2D. At second glance, you’ll notice that it’s more than that.

sword and soldiers 5

Story:

You’ll play 3 factions in the single player campaign. Each faction has its own lightweight story: Vikings want to create the best barbeque sauce, Aztecs want to create the best chili pepper and the Chinese want a new toy. They tried to bring some humor in these stories, which isn’t such a success in my opinion. Of course the story is just something to chain the levels together in a game like this. The gameplay and the looks are more important.

Graphics:

The semi-cell shaded graphics fit perfectly for a game like this. It feels like you’re playing a little cartoon and contributes to the atmosphere which you expect from a game like this. The GUI design is kept simple and works very fluent. Even in very intensive games you won’t have any trouble to build your troops or to use your skills quickly. You’ll travel trough different parts of the world, adding some variation to the maps. One map you’re traveling through snow, the next map you’ll be running through the desert. An other detail is the day/night cycle, which gives the game that little extra touch, even when it doesn’t add anything extra to the gameplay.

sword and soldiers

Sound:

Voice acting is chosen very well for this game. You’ll love it when you hear a Viking scream “Chaaaaaarge” with a very raw voice or the Aztec saying “Goldfinder!” with a voice which could be your grandmother. The background music is ok, never overwhelming, but you’ll never feel a need to mute it.

Gameplay:

Campaign

You’ll play 3 factions in the single player campaign, containing 10 levels each. In each level you’ll need to fulfill an objective varying from destroying the enemy’s base to defending your base for a set amount of time. To do this, you’ll need gold. You start with an amount of gold to buy some goldminers and once they made enough gold, you’ll be able to upgrade your base to buy melee fighters, ranged fighters, catapults, defending towers or even more gold miners. The later, more expensive updates are a more original: giant statues, monkeys, magicians which create skeletons from corps and other fantasy stuff.

Buying companions isn’t the only way to reach your objective though. Once you’ve gained enough money, you’ll be able to buy spells. Each faction has its own unique skills. They vary from defensive skills like healing your companions or making them invincible to aggressive skills like poisoning or freezing the enemy. You’ll need to use these skills tactically, since you’ll run out of mana pretty fast.

The campaign levels are challenging, but they never become very hard. In most of the levels, the start is the critical part. If you start bad, you’ll probably won’t have a chance for a comeback, which isn’t rare for a game genre like this. Some levels try to add some extra variation by adding an extra “lane”, which give you the opportunity to choose which lane your team should take. You can change this decision at any given time. You might be wondering why you should need several lanes. The answer is simple. Most of the time one lane is heavy guarded and the other isn’t. At the end of the heavy guarded lane there is some gold treasures or mana treasures, rewarding you for the work you’ve done. Or you can choose the light guarded path without treasures which might result in harder fights later on. The choice is yours.

sword and soldiers 4

Skirmish

Skirmish is a single player mode with only one objective: destroy the enemy’s base. You need to choose the faction you’ll play, the faction your enemy will play and you’re given the option to set some extra options: which map you want to play, difficulty of the AI, the amount of starting gold, the amount of starting gold miners, the amount of starting mana and you can add some handicap to the AI or to yourself. This mode brings nothing new, but it’s a good practice for the online battles. Especially on the hard difficulty you’ll have a though time to beat the AI.

Challenges

There are 3 challenges in this game, which you’ll unlock by completing campaign levels. The first one is called “Survival”. As you might expect the objective of this challenge is to survive. You’re base will get overwhelmed by enemies and you’ll need to defend your base as long as possible. An online scoreboard will tell you how well you did compared to other players.

The second challenge is called “Berserker Run”. In this challenge you’ll have only one berserker (a melee fighter). You’ll need to help the berserker run as much yards as possible. To do this, you’ll need to use skills to help him surviving several enemies on his path. At certain distances you’ll get the option to learn a new skill, giving you more options to run as far as possible.

The third and last challenge is called “Boulder”. Boulder is one of the skills you’ll learn while using the Aztec faction in the campaign mode. When you use it, a boulder will roll over the map. You have the control over this boulder. By clicking, you can make the boulder jump to avoid it hitting your companions and only hit the enemies. In this challenge you’ll need to smash 50 enemies and avoid 50 of your own companions. Each smashed enemy delivers you one point, each smashed companion makes you lose a point.

sword and soldiers 1

Online

Online is very similar to Skirmish. Choose your faction and wait for another player to join your game. The only difference here is that the map and other options are selected randomly. While waiting for another player, you can still play single player games or challenges. When the match system found another player, your current game will pause and you’ll get a message another player was found and the online battle will begin. Once the online game is finished, you’ll return to the game or challenge you were playing.

A disadvantage at the moment of testing, is the current player base. Even on a Sunday afternoon, it can take up to 10 minutes to find another player, which doesn’t make the online matches very interesting when you just wanted to play a quick online match.

Somehow the factions feels a little unbalanced too. The Aztecs have an unmanned tower, which is extremely strong. On top of that, they have the boulder skill to destroy the enemy’s army + an enemy’s tower in a single hit. Second best is the Chinese faction with a Dragon skill to destroy everything in a whole lane. The Vikings are clearly the weakest. They are weak against both Aztec and Chinese factions and the only way to win a game with them is to rush your troops so the Aztecs or Chinese have no chance to gain gold. The Astecs and Chinese factions have more ways to win an online battle.

sword and soldiers 7

Super Saucy Sausage Fest DLC

This DLC costs you only 2€ (or 1€ when you buy the game + DLC bundle). This DLC adds an extra campaign with 10 new levels and one extra Challenge.

The DLC campaign is a little different than the normal levels. You won’t be playing one faction during this campaign, but you’ll use a mix of the three factions. In almost all of the 10 levels you won’t need to farm gold, but you’ll need to reach the enemies base with a limited amount of money, mana and skills. On your path you’ll find some gold and/or mana treasures to boost your gold and mana and buy some extra troops to make the finish line. These levels are way more challenging than the campaign levels of the original game, but also less interesting if you like to build your city from zero and slightly upgrade it.

The “new” challenge doesn’t bring anything new. It’s called “Boulder XL” and is just an upgrade of the original “Boulder” challenge. Instead of 50 enemies and 50 companions, you’ll have 250 enemies and 250 companions.

sword and soldiers 2

Conclusion:

If you enjoy games like Age of Empires and Warcraft, you should definitely try this game. Even when the story isn’t really interesting, the levels are very enjoyable. To complete all campaign levels, you’ll need about 4-8 hours, depending on how fast you play through the levels and the DLC will add an extra 1-2 hours. The challenges will add some extra playtime, and the online mode enhances the playtime to unlimited. All this for only €11.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Swords & Soldiers - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Swords & Soldiers II out now
    May 22, 2015, 9:32 pm

    […] some time ago, we had the chance to check out Swords & Soldiers, a 2D side-scrolling strategy game. The first game was received well by fans and now the second […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.