Of course, it never stays that simple for long and once your force is divided more than twice or thrice you’ll start finding it difficult to keep up with where your units are going, how many you have and who should be doing what.
Keeping track of all these things is absolutely pivotal though – mess it up and you’ll have 90 percent of your forces milling around like blind, legless sheep while you focus your attention on the rapidly thinning army on the other side of the map.
Luckily, Introversion has got your back – this is where the Generals come in. Generals are normal Darwinians who you arbitrarily pick out of a crowd of your samey, faceless stickman fodder and promote to a higher purpose. Upgrading a Darwinian to a General does two main things.
Firstly, making a General means that all the Darwinians around it will fall into line. They get regimented, forming a squad around the Officer that makes them tougher to beat in direct combat. Darwinians aren’t great fighters and have only access to lasers and grenades, which they use pretty randomly and indiscriminately. Darwinians around a General though are a little different in that they’ll start getting a lot more shootey than explosiony.
The second major use of a General is that they can be used to issue on-going orders. If you have four summoner points where your Darwinians are being a-sexually and electrically bought into existence then it can be hard to keep on top of things, even if all you want to do is keep ordering them to attack the same enemy base.
Using a General though, you can do all this automatically. A General told to stand at a spawn point can tell all the Darwinians around him to go elsewhere, so you can commit your sprites to carnage like ants being forced into a bucket of water by the pudgy, jam-covered hand of a toddler. With a muffin.
The next complication though arises from that old Worms
mechanic – the weapons crate.
Weapons crates drop throughout the course of the game, falling randomly and slowly to the earth. There’s no announcement when they fall, so you have to keep a sharp eye out for them – which can be hard in the busy, neon world of Multiwinia
. Once you’ve spotted one you have to dispatch a group of your loyal identikit soldiers to collect the crate.
Collecting crates takes time, though you can speed up the collection time by sending more men, but since you never know what’s in them it can be a difficult decision to make. You could pull men off the battlefield to collect an armoured tank or a gun turret – or you could end up with nothing more than a magical forest. We still haven’t quite figured out what that does. (Edit: According to Introversion it creates a new forest on the map which you can use to harvest souls from using Engineers
The superpowers and extra weapons provided by the crates are interesting and quite well balanced too, even in this early preview version. There’s a small and traditional selection of weapon power-ups (well, excluding the Magical Forest). Airstrikes, automated gun turrets, tanks and engineers.
Of course, since Multiwinia
is set in a digital world engineers are a little bit weird – they function more like messianic medics (try saying that ten times fast with a mouthful of muffin) by raising the dead at nearby spawn points.
As you can imagine though, with a game where your units infinitely respawn from set places speed is of the essence. Capturing all the spawn points early on can give you a distinct advantage in the game – happily though, the game can be set to accommodate this and even if you run out of summoners you can still be gifted with power-ups to keep you in the game.