If you're not sold by the sentence, "A Real Time Strategy (RTS) games with slugs," please continue reading.
Most RTS games have players build stations or bases that provide them with units they can use to attack their enemies with. While Slug Wars is an RTS, it changes up this tried and true method in favor of a tower defense like system.
The right side of the screen is the player's "base" and the left side of the screen is the base of the opposing slugs. Each slug unit is worth a certain amount of points and players must purchase them using funds acquired in-game through the collection of flowers found throughout the level. Slug units are deployed between 3 different lanes, which complicates strategy as slugs must stay in single file and cannot pass each other or change lines.
To win, players command their slugs to kill enemy slugs and reach the opposing base. Once three of the players slugs reach the enemy base, victory is at hand! Sounds easy, right? The first level or two may be a bit, pardon our shamefully intended pun, sluggish, but things pick up in later levels as the enemy gets tougher and new units are introduced.
With eight different units, Slug Wars strategy becomes surprisingly deep for a mobile phone game. For example, the Kamikaze slug has a salt shaker attached to its back and spills the salt when it encounters an enemy causing damage on two lanes and temporarily blocking the lane it was in. The airborne unit can be helpful when players need to move a slug up front as it carries a slug to the front of the line. The more fantastic the ability, the more expensive the units are to deploy.
Other slug units include the standard soldier, speed, spy, tank, missile and nuke units. In addition to having different abilities, each unit has different attributes as well. While the soldier has a moderate balance of defense, speed and attack power, other units aren't so lucky. While the tank unit is much more powerful than a soldier, it moves at a significantly slower speed. Other units have similar trade-offs.
Slug Wars not only has single player campaign and "skirmish" modes, but it also has a 2 player "Slug-It-Out" mode which allows another player to take control of the left side of the screen if you're willing to share your iPhone or iPod Touch. As far as controls go, players can jump right into slug wars without thinking twice. Use the bottom of the screen to scroll through and select units and tap the lane you'd like them to do battle in.
As for aesthetics, we couldn't have asked for more on a mobile platform. We may not be big fans of real slugs, but the playfully stylized ones are welcome on our iPhone. The absence of background music is conspicuously missing, but the sound effects are well done. We're not exactly sure what the slugs are saying, but their audible . . . garbles are useful since they alert players when new units are entering the battlefield.
What we would liked to have seen.
- Multiplayer over Wi-Fi and or 3G.
- Saving progress in-battle: While players can start from whichever levels they've reached, if they quit to answer a text message they cannot resume from where the battle left off.
Slug Wars accomplishes exactly what it set out to do. It's an entertaining real time strategy game with intuitive controls and an endearing art style at an affordable price. It may seem a bit too easy for the first two levels, but Slug Wars quickly reveals that it has more strategy and difficulty built into it than it lets on. While veteran RTS players may seek more complexity and may not be totally satisfied with Slug Wars, it does provide a surprising amount of difficulty as levels progress that should satisfy most.
At $1.99, why isn't Slug Wars on your i[platform of choice] already?