Multiwinia Hands-On Preview

Written by Joe Martin

July 15, 2008 | 00:21

Tags: #darwinia #hands-on #mark-morris #multiwinia #preview #uplink #xbla

Companies: #defcon #indie #introversion #introversion-software


Multiwinia is a game built on six pillars – six different basic gamemodes around which all the large-scale violence and Tron-icide type of quest orbit.

These gamemodes are Domination, King of the Hill, Capture the Statue, Assault, Rocket Riot and Blitzkrieg and, while none of them actually break the mould massively in terms of innovative gameplay objectives, we’ve come to think that sticking the basics perhaps isn’t such a bad thing.

For example, if you grab any gamer off the street (or more likely out of a LAN party or nearby sunless basement) and asked them what they think the best multiplayer games are then you’d probably get a fairly predictable run-down. CS(:S), Quake 3 2, Team Fortress, Halo 3, Battlefield 2, Starcraft – the list goes on.

What you probably wouldn’t get is someone piping up for something like Kane and Lynch. If you’re familiar with the multiplayer in that game then you might find that a bit weird since Kane and Lynch has a rather interesting take on things and throws players into a battle of suspicions and fragile alliances. As such, any given game can play out like a scene from Reservoir Dogs.

Multiwinia Hands-On Preview Multiwinia Hands-On Preview - Gameplay

Turns out then that the games which really do offer up some innovative multiplayer game modes and try to massively buck the trend perhaps aren’t the ones that we enjoy playing all that much. So, don’t take it as a bad sign that Multiwinia runs the usual multiplayer gauntlet in terms of the available gamemodes.

Multiwinia keeps things simple wherever it can, even going so far as to rank the different types of games according to challenge and complexity. There’s Domination at the top of the list and which is basically little more than a deathmatch type game. Next is King of the Hill, which does just what it says on the tin and sees players battling for space in designated control zones like, squabbling brats arguing over possession of a wrapper-less muffin.

Yeah, the muffin reference again. Prepare yourselves for more of it too – I’ve decided that muffin-laden reviews are going to be my new ‘thing’ (After we've been continually told that the Cake is a Lie, no doubt - Ed).

The other multiplayer modes don’t offer an awful lot more innovation, but again they all operate on tried and tested guidelines. Assault is a round-based offense/defense game. Rocket Riot has players racing to capture solar arrays to power missile attacks and Blitzkrieg is an all-out zone capture game.

Multiwinia Hands-On Preview Multiwinia Hands-On Preview - Gameplay

So, that’s a fairly comprehensive selection of the history of multiplayer modes, but (and I hate to put a downer on things here) it doesn’t make a huge difference which mode you choose to be honest.

Our preview build of the game has access only to the Capture the Statue and and King of the Hill gameplay modes – but from what we’ve seen of them they really aren’t very different when you get right down to things.

You see, there’s no direct unit building or resource management in Multiwinia, so to speak. Your only resource really is the Darwinians themselves – those tiny stick figures which are more two-dimensional and flat than those adverts they’ve started adding on at the end of the Zero Punctuation reviews under the misconception that anyone really cares.

Darwinians though aren’t built, they are continuously spawned and bought into life by summoner machines. You start every game with 15 or so Darwinians and there are always a bunch of nearby summoners – so the first move is always to divide your forces and capture these summoners. Give it a minute and your army will quickly grow in size.

From there, you don’t need to worry really – the objectives are simple and the maps are rarely colossal. Your Darwinians will just keep spawning, so all you have to do is send wave after wave of them into battle and let them kill or die according to their utterly autonomous whims.
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