There’s something about old-school franchises that get my blood running all spicy. Maybe that’s because, while older gamers remember the retro era of Atari & Spectrum with fond memories, I began my gaming education in the early-to-mid-90s. While, yes, I did begin on the humble Game Boy, before moving to the SNES and Mega Drive, I also had a PC.
On that PC was where I discovered the glories of Champ Manager, Quake, Grim Fandango and Half Life. It was also where I fell in love with Bullfrog’s range of games, and the classic Worms. Both these people made me games which lasted a life-time; while Team 17 gave me the best kind of Worms, ones that would fire rockets and uzis and grannies at each other, Bullfrog let me build worlds. I built theme parks, hospitals, and dungeons.
Both Team 17 & the likes of Bullfrog made my childhood, and in a way, both had a presence at Rezzed.
Let’s start with War for the Overworld, and the obvious disclaimer. The words “spiritual successor” are used a lot nowadays, with Mighty No 9 and even Dark Souls bringing the heart and spirit from games like Mega Man & Demon Souls. With EA’s sad attempt at resurrecting the Dungeon Keeper franchise with the mobile version, War for the Overworld has the power to take over that dungeon heart, and claim it for itself.
War for the Overworld is a dungeon simulator, where you gather minions and build various rooms to sustain your power within the realm. You will build places to eat, places to sleep, and places to train, all the while digging for gold and preparing to face the forces of good. Yes, it sounds similar to another game I’ve mentioned, but this is a whole new experience. Subterranean Games have taken much of the feel and spirit from the Bullfrog classic, as well as the humour. Essentially, this is the sequel we’ve all been waiting for, in full HD. Except, it isn’t a sequel, and it would be insulting to refer to it as such.
War for the Overworld is one Hell of a game. Literally. The amount of strategy involved is both massive and easy to maintain. Playing it at Rezzed is a detriment to it’s gameplay, as you simply want to get sucked in and lost to crafting your own demonic forces. From minions, to cultists, all prepare to fight on your behalf. I must admit, I chuckled at the look of some of the monsters on show, in a good way. Seeing their evil, yet cute, visages stalk the corridors of my dungeon bought back many good memories. And, seeing them in action, bought many more.
This is, quite simply, an excellent game. It is a definite time-sink, and I can see it taking over many lives in the future. The campaign mode looks tasty, but an open world feel to crafting your dungeon is also very enticing. Much is to be said about War for the Overworld, from it’s gleefully gritty look, to the wonderful cries and sounds of the dungeon you create. Strategy simulation games are slowly making a comeback, and War for the Overworld could well take the dungeon management crown away from EA.
At least, this writer hopes.
Team 17, meanwhile, have decided to play a risky throw of the dice. They have gone from their tried-and-tested classic franchise, Worms, to create a whole new IP. One with the same humour, same look, but different gameplay and, more importantly, different animals.
Welcome to Flockers.
The sheep from Worms have decided to escape, but unfortunately the dark, dirty factories they choose to escape from are filled with dangerous mechanics, traps, and other assorted nasties. This is Lemmings in an Ozzy Osbourne world. Mental, violent, and hilarious.
You start off with a gaggle of sheep to get home, and a number of power-ups to do so that you find on the way. Everything from wooly-beanies to help them jump, to red capes to make them fly. And that’s not mentioning the explosives and stacking abilities…
Flockers is an interesting, yet not surprising, jaunt for Team 17. Like I say, the look and feel is very Worms, with a Lemmings gameplay (a game they bought to the PSP & PS2 back in the day). Little references to their popular franchise are there for the eagle-eyed, but you’ll be too busy keeping your sheep in check. Danger lurks around every corner, in hilarious and disgusting ways. Your sheep will be crushed, spiked, liquified and many more. I managed to play 3 levels, and the carnage I saw would make a veteran weep.
Am I excited by Flockers? It took a moment for me to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. The level of fun on show is immense. Just the sheer value in watching events unfold, in seeing gravity distort and giant balls roll toward your vulnerable sheep… it’s just damn fun.
Game of the show? Very likely, but there’s a lot of stiff competition. Next time, I’ll look at the rest of that competition, with The Escapists and Dead Pixels 2.