2009 was a weird year for me. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to go to school. I had moved away from my mom’s place and was living with some guy I met off Craigslist. I could go to bars (legally), I was working a dead-end job that barely covered my bills and I didn’t do much but party. People called me a Fungi. I couldn’t tell you a single game or movie that came out that year as I was to focused on being out till 6 in the morning every night dancing to some guy wearing a mouse head that we called Dead Mau Five. It was also my last year living in Vancouver before I hopped on a plane and headed to Toronto. My year of partying meant I missed out on a lot of good games like Uncharted 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed II, Minecraft, Prototype, Borderlands and the PSexclusiveve Mushroom Wars. Mushroom Wars was included in IGN‘s “Top 25 PSN Games” list that year. It received an 82/100 score on Metacritic and was given “Honorable Mentions” on Gamasutra. Of the games I mentioned before I’ve conquered them all, except for Mushroom Wars. Thankfully it was released on Steam back in April of this year and I could finally dive into this colorful real-time strategy game where smart strategy meets furious action in epic PvP and PvE battles. With some many games out this summer, it’s hard to find Mushroom to pay attention to the little guys, I get it, you don’t have time for Shittake but Mushroom Wars is worth your time. And from here on out I promise to lay off the Mushroom puns.
Mushroom Wars starts off easy enough for the first few battles but once it lets you fight on your own things get hard fast. Who knew being the General of the Mushroom Army would be so hard? Who knew I’d be writing about mushrooms and not talking about a Mario game? 2016 is weird.
The game is simple enough, you are a fearless commander and skillful strategist and your role is to battle opposing tribes, capture and hold settlements, defensive towers, and armories, and increase the size of your Mushroom forces and win the battle. It’s simplistic and straightforward and it makes for an easy game to pick up for a couple of minutes and feel satisfied. It’s an easy enough game to grasp yet it’s tough to master.
There is no story mode here which is a shame because I’d love to get to know these little shrooms. Watching them jump for joy when they capture an armory brings a smile to my face every time. These jumps are paired with small cheers and noises that work well with the easy breezy music. Upon first playing the game I wasn’t even aware it came out 7 years ago. The visuals are finely polished and it handles great.
The five-hour campaign spans 28 different missions with three difficulty levels. Also included are twelve skirmish levels, each of which can be played in Domination, King of the Hill and Conquest. There’s also 6 multiplayer maps that you can play against another person. The computer’s AI did a great job switching it up and keeping me guessing as I worked my way through the same maps over and over again. It would be have been nice to have a map editor, and perhaps we will see one in the sequel that is slated for later this year.
I enjoyed playing through the campaign and was shocked at how much harder the game got after level 10. Your little mushrooms are outnumbered and you really got to think on your feet. I found myself Button Mushrooming (SORRY) through levels and I learned how to properly distract the enemy. Send a few to die heroically to take the advantage. This isn’t exactly an overly complicated strategy and if you’re a hardcore RTS fan there isn’t much for you here. But if you’re like me and like a more laid back real-time strategy game where you are constantly losing I’d highly suggest Mushroom Wars. It’s simple and has a broad appeal and it’s charming as hell.
Now bring on Mushroom Wars 2, I might even eat some (magic) mushrooms while I play and live stream the game to Twitch if you dare me.