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Game Info:

Mushroom Wars 2
Developed By: Zillion Whales
Published By: Zillion Whales
Released: October 6, 2017
Available On: Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Strategy
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1 - 4 offline, 1 – 4 online
Price: $14.99, free on mobile but comes with in-app purchases

Thanks to Zillion Whales for sending us the code for this game so we could review it.

Apparently, in the apocalypse, humanity will be replaced by a bunch of itty-bitty, sentient, mushroom people that will really like to go to war with each other. At least, that is, according to Mushroom Wars 2. In this game, you play as mushroom people, as well as their tiny little alien friends, and fight it out on a variety of different maps to see who will come out victorious in this battle of numbers.

In Mushroom Wars 2, you play as one of the different hero characters leading your force to victory against all opponents. This game is a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game where you have buildings that generate units that you will use to send at other structures to capture them and expand the strength of your forces. This style of RTS is one that some might remember playing online back in the day. This is really similar to those games, but with more polish and features. This game is also available on about every major system out on the market (our review is for the Windows version) and boasts that it allows for cross-platform play. When starting the game, it prompts you to create a profile which might even allow you to carry over your progress to another system. I haven’t been able to test that out, but it seems like the only real reason to make a profile besides to keep track of the online leaderboards.

The gameplay of Mushroom Wars 2 is fairly simple and really addictive. Most matches seem to last around 5 minutes so it is very easy to be able to play a lot of them in one sitting. The game also has 2 lengthy campaigns, with the promise of more to come, and has a variety of different free play and multiplayer options. The amount of different ways to set up a game is really nice and it makes it easy to accommodate your local or online multiplayer needs. Speaking of multiplayer, this game seems to have a fairly active multiplayer community. The times I played it I was able to find a match really quickly and on the game’s Steam forum page, there are a lot of posts of people asking for people to join them to play the game as a group.

Mushroom Wars 2
Highlights:

Strong Points: Really nice soundtrack; fun and addictive gameplay; short matches; simple mechanics; game has free weekends so you can try before you buy
Weak Points: Some difficulty spikes, some abilities seem overpowered
Moral Warnings: Game is set in what appears to be the nuclear apocalypse of Earth and you play as living mushroom people; aliens; a lot of death; magic including necromancy

My only real complaint about the multiplayer is the quality of the matches. All my matches were against not super challenging opponents. Also, as soon as I started to really beat them, they all quit. I did have better satisfaction from playing through the campaign. The campaign is just a lot of missions on different maps with different challenges to overcome or modifiers to mess around with. Some events have the enemy start with more structures than you do, facing an enemy using hero powers, having to deal with a frog that will eat some of the units that walk by them, fog that undoes all building upgrades, and special buildings that generate more units a second than the standard buildings. There is a story that goes along with all of this, but it is really minor. All you get is a couple of really nice looking partially animated images every 10 or 15 missions. I honestly don’t know much about what is supposed to be going on, but the gameplay is engaging enough it really doesn’t matter much.

My main complaint with the story comes from one mission right after a cutscene that showed what appeared to be my character joining forces with my previous enemy. The problem came at the start of the next mission that had just me and my new ally on it. Since they were the only other force on the map, I attacked them. After about 15 seconds though, a new enemy appears running in from off the edge of the map. This was something I never encountered before. I was stuck on this mission for a long time. I had to look up a help guide to beat this one. Apparently, if you don’t attack the new ally, they won’t attack you and you just need to survive the enemy’s attacks. Since I thought my ally was my enemy and attacked them the first time, they attacked back which led me to believe they were always hostile. It only happened that one time, but it was really frustrating not having what I was supposed to do in that mission be properly communicated.

The game also has many different hero units that the player can use. These each come with different abilities. Some of these abilities I’d argue are more effective than others and some just seem a little bit unfair. It doesn’t help that if you are just playing through the story, some matches will have the enemy using their abilities, but you have no idea what their abilities exactly do. I thought my game bugged out at first when I couldn’t send anybody from some of my houses. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that the enemy hero had an ability that let it lock down a house and prevent anything from leaving it for a set amount of time. There is also another really frustrating ability which the enemy I’m currently facing really loves to deploy. This ability gets cast upon a house and makes it stop generating new units and then slowly drains it all the way down to 0. Even if you have 100 units in there, it will drain all of them. They also seem to cast this one very frequently. I’m also totally not a fan of how they do the higher difficulties. On anything higher than the easiest difficulty, the game no longer shows you the number of units in any building that isn’t your own building. This makes it really difficult to choose which one to attack. I’m also fairly sure the enemy still knows which of mine are low because it always seems to attack the right one. I also don’t like it because I feel like it is just there so the enemy can generate more units than it should be able to while on the hardest difficulty. It just seems like they are sending out units way too often and I just feel like me not being able to see anything is to just hide the cheating. I could be wrong, but there is no way for me to find out one way or the other. Luckily, there is still the easiest difficulty which doesn’t have those problems, but it does have a pretty weak AI most of the time.

Mushroom Wars 2
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 84%
Violence - 5.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The controls for this game are really simple. Everything can be controlled with just the mouse. The game also includes a pretty extensive write-up of all the features included and all of the controls. The art is really nice, though it is a little bit simple except for the cutscenes. All of the cutscenes have really nice art. One nice feature is that the different players seem to have differently styled buildings which is a nice feature for players that struggle to tell the difference based solely upon just their colors. Now, I have had matches where they have had the same styled buildings, but a majority of the time it is different. The UI is very simple and clean and it conveys all that it needs to in an effective manner. The sound is really good. The background music is all very nice and doesn’t get annoying to hear it again in other matches. I’m really tempted to pick up the soundtrack and add it to my collection. The sound effects are all nice. The game gives your soldiers a very cartoony war cry for when you send them to attack something and it still makes me laugh. They also gave the different style of towers their own distinct sounds for when they fire. I like this little detail to make them sound distinct as well as look different.

The story of Mushroom Wars 2 appears to be set in a post nuclear apocalyptic Earth. You also play as sentient mushroom people. You either gained sentience from evolving or by mutating from the fallout of the nuclear apocalypse. In addition, there are also some aliens that appear and can be used in battles. There is also a lot of death in this game. Now, it isn’t super straight forward violent, but when you send your soldiers to capture an enemy building, any units that don’t make it die and you can also see some of their spirits rise up into the sky. Now this is done is a very cartoony way and might not be a problem for many, but when you really start to think about what you are doing, it really sinks in. There are also some abilities that are somewhat violent. One such ability is one that unleashes a blast of fire in an area. Any mushroom people hit by it are burnt to a crisp and die. The game has a couple of other abilities like this in it. There is also a couple of heroes who appear to be necromancers or some other form of dark magic users. One special hazard on some levels is a cemetery that fills up with the dead soldiers and, once full, releases them as zombie creatures at a random building. Finally, there are a lot of abilities that are present that seem to definitely be magic based.

Overall, I found my time with Mushroom Wars 2 to be pretty enjoyable. The game gives you some pretty addictive gameplay and it makes sure that matches don’t take too long so that is also pretty easy to quit if something comes up. The highlight of this game, besides its gameplay, is the wonderfully composed soundtrack and very artistic cutscenes. Take notice of the violence and spiritual content, though I personally don't find it very offensive. A lot of the things are fairly abstract enough that it might not even occur to you what is actually going on. I’ll admit, some of these didn’t occur to me until I actual sat down to type up this review. If you are getting this for a kid, they probably won’t even be able to pick up on most of it. If you are still hesitant on picking this up, at the time of receiving the code to play this game, there was a free weekend on Steam. It could be worth adding it to your wishlist on there and wait for it to get another free weekend to try out yourself. Also, if you have a mobile device, this game is also available for free on there, but it does come with the addition of microtransactions. I had a really fun time playing Mushroom Wars 2 and I will probably continue to chip away at the long story mode.

- Paul Barnard (Betuor)

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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