Game Info:

Firmament Wars
Developed By: Neverworks Games
Published By: Neverworks Games
Released: September 3, 2018
Available On: Windows
Genre: Multiplayer; real-time strategy
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: Single-player; up to 8 players online
Price: $2

Thanks to Neverworks Games for the Steam review keys!

Have you ever played the board game Risk and wished it was faster-paced, simpler, and real-time instead of turn-based? Neverworks Games asked the same question and then developed Firmament Wars. The game takes the same formula of building up a large army and then taking over the map except forces you to do this at the same time as everybody else. It works very well and in a way anybody can understand.

The only goal in a game of Firmament Wars is to eliminate the opponent. To achieve this, you use 3 separate resources to create troops, long-range weaponry, and defense systems. Attacking the other player is simply a numbers game. If you attack a space that has 10 soldiers on it using a space with 20, you’ll win and take over that space. You can only attack adjacent spaces unless you have long-range weapons. Depending on what government each player is using, and if that space has defenses, your attacks will either do less damage or you could even fail to take the space. Simultaneously, the other player is doing the same thing on the other side of the map without you knowing. It’s real-time tactics, meaning both players move at the exact same time. There is a turn system, but instead of a player’s movement taking a turn, it’s on a short timer. The game becomes chaotic and fast-paced with most matches being 15 minutes long or less, and you’re constantly thinking on your toes.

Firmament Wars

Strong Points: Fast-paced; easy to understand but hard to master
Weak Points: Minor bugs; no playerbase
Moral Warnings: Gunshots can be heard; public chat room; text talking about assassinations appears

There are 4 resources you will use to help you in battle. On each space on the board, there’s 3 bars under the number of units in that space. The bars represent how much of that resource you will get per turn if you have control. Food gives you reserve troops every few turns. The more food you have, the more troops you’ll have in reserve when the turn happens. These troops can then be deployed on whatever space you want for an energy cost. Otherwise you can pay 2 energy to rush troops onto a space. Science is used to research defenses and long-ranged attack methods. It’s also used to build your defenses or shoot off the cannons and missiles. Culture is used to boost chances to get a great person. The great people give strong bonuses in resources. Energy is used to move troops, attack, deploy, and rush troops. You get energy at the end of each turn, or from science and great people bonuses. There’s a lot of resource management, and a large part of the game is capturing as many spaces as possible to make sure you get more resources than your opponent.

Your choice of government plays a big role on the outcome of a battle. There are 7 types of government, ranging from democracy to communism to a republic. Each government has different bonuses that can change your play style. Fascism has a heavy focus on attacking and is great at taking out spaces with defenses on them. Monarchy is more defensive with a +2 defensive bonus and 50% more cultural influence. From what I’ve played, most governments seem balanced, although communism is a little strong with its ability to deploy troops on any tile not already owned.

One of the largest issues Firmament Wars has is a complete lack of players. I haven’t seen any other players aside from me and my friend in the player list, and while there is a server list and public chat, both are barren. You can play matches against bots, and the bots are competent enough to offer a challenge. There is a Discord server and you could possibly set up a game with somebody there, but otherwise make sure to bring a friend.

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

Game Score - 68%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 4/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

Bugs are limited mostly to weird issues with the menus, and we had no problems once in an actual match. We couldn’t set up a team match because it wouldn’t let either of us switch teams. A lot of times when setting up the server for a match, the server would crash or the game would claim there was no host. After a game is done, you can’t go back to the lobby, so you must create a new server each time. Just a lot of weird little stuff that doesn’t impact the game necessarily but is there often enough to be a bit tedious.

The game takes place on a 2D map of whatever continent or part of Earth you choose to play on. Combat is shown by numbers and light-colored dashes that make gunshot sounds. The art is nothing crazy, but the simplistic nature of the game gives you all the information you need. The UI is easy to understand and never gets in the way of things.

Controls are keyboard and mouse. There are hotkeys assigned to each action you can take, or you can just click the buttons with your mouse. Controls cannot be re-bound to other buttons, and there's no controller support. There aren’t many sounds aside from defenses being built and attacks. The soundtrack is not really worth mentioning and doesn’t stick out.

Morally there isn’t a whole lot to note. You can hear gunshots whenever something is attacked, but you never see anything but numbers go down. Technically the goal is to defeat the other player with violence. There are assassinations that happen randomly, but it’s only described in text and not in detail. Public chat rooms are accessible and uncensored, but there isn’t an active playerbase to pollute it.

Overall, Firmament Wars is very fun with its simplicity, quick matches, and fast-paced gameplay. There’s no fanbase for the game, so you need to have some friends around to enjoy the multiplayer. For 2 dollars there’s a great game here, and I recommend it fully.

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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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