Greed Corp
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*Extremely satisfying crack/crunch noise as enemy tiles collapse*

Greed Corp is a strange mixture of ingredients - a top-down turn-based strategy game with an overly quirky art style, a high (but short) learning curve, simplistic game mechanics and an intensely competitive edge. Up to four (CPU or human) players are pitted against each other in a variety of maps made up of destructible hexagon-shaped tiles of different heights. The objective is simple - be the last player left with a tile on the map.

The words "turn-based" are generally an instant warning light for me so I approached Greed Corp with caution. I had seen a preview video and thought that it looked interesting at least, and was really hoping that it would have some parallels with some of the big strategy games like Command & Conquer. After loading the game up and starting to play, my worst fears began to come true as I struggled to make sense of the tutorial I was being rushed through. Thankfully, after a few annoying defeats I found myself getting the hang of the basic tools and was putting together simple tactics.

Players start with a small number of "Walkers", which can move around the map and capture bordering tiles. Walkers can be gathered into groups to capture a tile which an enemy is occupying with a smaller number of walkers. "Harvesters" can be built on a tile to generate money at the start of each turn, but beware - tiles with a Harvester on (and the surrounding tiles) will collapse one level every round and eventually crumble into the mist below, taking with it anything else you or an enemy had built there. "Armouries" are built to allow the manufacture of more walkers, and expensive air transports are available for jumping to far-away tiles. "Cannons" make up the final piece of kit which you can build, and unfortunately are the only tool available to you which could be considered an offensive weapon.

Fans of brutality fear not however! Greed Corp has managed to harness that oh-so-satisfying "GOTCHA!" factor extremely well. There is immense satisfaction to be had in watching your opponent's final few tiles crumble away after a well executed strategy. The flip side of this is being on the receiving end and dealing with the "YOU ****ER!" factor. By far the game's most frustrating moment is when your final tiles collapse after spending twenty minutes building up money and resources. You will however find this driving you to make highly tactical decisions right from the outset of each round, and before long will be instinctively playing with a chess-like offensive strategy.

The game features an extravagant art style which depicts a cartoony vision of the industrial revolution. The Walkers and other machines in the game have been brought to life as comical characters which adds a fun personality to the game but may be a bit too tacky for hardened field generals. The 1920s-style music adds an intriguing surreal edge at first, but as there is little variety in the pieces, they soon become repetitive, and after a few hours play begin to border on annoying.

This brings me to the game's worst point - repetitiveness. After a steep initial learning curve, each game is essentially the same and variety is delivered only through playing on different maps. Luckily the developers have been quite generous in the variety of maps available, but this doesn't stop a noughts-and-crosses "first-move" factor from being a big issue a lot of the time. Many battles will lead to an annoying stalemate while you both skip turns to save up money, or be forced to employ the tactic of letting the two or three other players destroy each other because you have trapped yourself on a corner of the map with limited resources. Although only one minute per player, opponents' turns can seem to take forever, and the frustration this causes when playing online is amplified as you wait for your turn whilst watching the other players' cursors move about without an exact indication of what they are actually doing.

All in all this is a decent little game and worth a play if you like strategy games. It would be best suited to intricate, competitive players who enjoy thinking strategically but don't want to play a single battle for more than 15-20mins. The campaign mode is easy to keep picking up but going online against human players ups the stakes and adds extra satisfaction to crumbling away enemies' tiles. The art style and visual design are a bit too extravagant for such a simple game and seem out of place at times, but it's very easy to load up for a play once you are over the initial hurdle of winning your first few battles. Those who aren't fans of strategy games should avoid, and fans should have a few pinches of salt ready. Don't expect a massive game, but a repetitive one that could become addictive


I'm still trying to figure out why fireworks go off... ?