All right, so we've got Warcraft with knobs on. You've seen it all before. The scenery is a dead ringer for the Warcraft stuff, the fog of war works in the same way and even the trees look the same. On the other hand, the creatures are a little different. And there arc loads more units and all kinds of little, well, extras.
There are differences too. For a start you have to hire units rather than create them from scratch and occasionally you don't get the ones you need. However, you can retrain advanced units of one type so that they become another type, which certainly adds to the strategic side of the game. You can choose from four races in single and multi-player modes. Top of the tree are the strong, technologically advanced Tha Roon, but they're expensive and you don't get many of them to the pound. Special units include Assassins, Jump Troops (limited range airborne) and Psionics. Next come the Obblinox, hard-fighting, tough thugs that are slow and stupid. Their special units are Agents, Bikers and the tank-like Colossus.
From here on in it just gets weirder. The Eaggra arc plant-like things that are good at building and strong in numbers. They can build Druids and Grenadiers, a kind of long-range artillery. Last come the Shama Li, a race of Mystic Meg lookalikes with blobby bodies. They can become Shamans with healing spells or tough Elementals.
Each race needs different tactical handling if it's to get through the predetermined scenario path, but in multiplayer mode the differences become even more complex. If a Shama Li player allies with an Obblinox player, for example, it opens up all kinds of interesting strategies.
Combat and movement are fairly standard although the mouse does tend to jerk rather than scroll smoothly and sometimes it's not as responsive as it could be when selecting and deselecting units, ssi say this will be fixed by the time the game gets into the shops.
Units are chosen with the left mouse button, while the right button brings up a panel of icons denoting each of the possible actions, from fighting, moving and building, to taking, collecting and returning resources. Note the word taking - if you can get a couple of disguised or invisible units into your oppo's base, you can wreak economic havoc on a scale that even the Tories would be proud of.
Building is slower, even if you set the game to maximum speed and in the early stages there's a lot of waiting to do. The good news is that the ai doesn't always hurl everything it builds straight at you. This means you can build up your forces and although there are also wandering monsters to fight off, you can plan a decent all-out battle without having to fight off incessant raids.
Another good point is the way line of sight works. In War Wind you can hide in trees and ambush opponents as some units don't see what's in a tree square until they're right next to it. Trees also slow down movement rather than barring it completely.
There's the usual game and scenario editor included, although it's disappointing to see that you can't actually alter terrain features on maps or create your own from scratch. You can only edit and tweak.
I've got to mention Warcraft one last time, of course. If you enjoyed it, you'll enjoy War Wind. It has much more in the way of a challenge for both single players and groups and it's got ten times the variety. Fix the jerky mouse movements and it will be a cracker. Over to you, SSI.
Download War Wind
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP