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HAPPY WARS REVIEW

CUTE AIN’T ENOUGH.

→ OCTOBER 19, 2012 It was only a matter of time. With the free-to-play model blowing up on the PC, raking in huge amounts of cash by way of microtransactions, the consoles were sure to follow sooner or later. The Xbox 360’s first foray into this Brave New World isHappy Wars, a sort-of MOBA whose charm is only outweighed by its numerous flaws.

By sort-of MOBA – a genre defined as an RTS with action-RPG elements in a multiplayer space – I mean that Happy Wars borrows heavily from its Dota-like cousins, but doesn’t fully embrace what defines the genre. There’s no creep here, replaced instead by a second 15-player team constantly spawning and running into battle. Towers also function rather differently. Instead of actively trying to destroy any towers in their path, Happy Warriors are working to build their own, where they can then spawn.

But perhaps the biggest change – and the most detrimental – is the simplification of classes. With each respawn, you’ll choose between one of three: The melee-focused Warrior, the healing and support Cleric, and the ranged damage Mage. Each class is fairly simple to play, even with some clunkiness with ranged attacks, but the lack of variation leads to matches feeling all too familiar after a few rounds. Strategies are often thrown to the wind in favor of every class just pounding the attack button and hoping to kill their enemies before dying.

What’s more, the simple visuals, while charming, leads to confusion on the battlefield. With thirty players going at it at any given point, often fighting over a single contested tower,

Happy Wars is a multi-player action game that pits different comic-style characters against each other in over-the-top combat arenas.

things can get confusing fast. More often than not, I found myself in the middle of a flurry of spells and attacks, unable to see my character and just flailing away in a vain attempt to complete the objective. For a multiplayer game, the best way to get players to continue to play is to focus on creating depth along with accessibility. Happy Wars fails to do so. 

Now, that’s not to say that Happy Wars isn’t enjoyable at first. Its training missions and story modes show off a charming world where factions fight over incredibly dumb things, like what sort of dessert is best, and whether it’s better to exercise or stay indoors on a cold day. It’s genuinely funny and manages to set a nice, cute tone for the games to come.

But it gets old very quickly. After a quick tutorial (which I heartily recommend going through, as it helps with learning how the clunky ranged attacks work), and a story mode that doesn’t amount to much more than a few missions against simple AI bots, you’ve seen about all there is to see. Without mechanics that allow for depth, multiplayer very quickly turns to a borefest. Sure, you can try different assault and defense tactics like building battering rams or ballistas, but in the end, you’ll just be pounding away at whatever is nearest to you, rather than coordinating high-level strategies.

That is, when you can get in. Too often, it takes several minutes to scare up enough folks to get a 15-on-15 match going, many of which will drop immediately after joining the match, leaving bots in their place. Granted, it’s good that one team isn’t left with empty slots as defense, but often the AI is so atrocious, that they might as well not be there. In fact, a team with a large section of AI “players” will often get steamrolled within a couple of minutes.

Of course, it being a free-to-play game, there are a ton of items to either work towards with in-game currency or simply purchase outright with real life dollar bills. Unfortunately, in an attempt to avoid the “pay-to-win” label that so many of its “freemium” brethren have fallen victim to, Happy Wars’ items don’t differentiate themselves enough to really seem worth picking up. Why bother with working towards new items when they won’t make any noticeable difference in-game?

See more at IGN

Via www.ign.com

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