Thursday, February 8

Review: Earth Wars [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Sometimes there are games that aren’t terribly complex but due to their price and the basic quality of their gameplay hook manage to make a positive impression. Essentially benefitting from the low expectations tied to the budget price, impressive graphics and some reasonably good gameplay can carry the day. A great example of this effect is the action brawler Earth Wars, a budget title that can be a little tough to understand at times but nonetheless delivers some good fun and looks great.

While there’s a story involving an alien attack that has decimated the world’s population it’s really just trappings for the action. The basics you need to know begin with the fact that you’ll have a melee weapon, typically a variant of a sword, which serves as your primary weapon. This has you slashing through enemies, juggling them in the air, and completing various combos. Your secondary weapon will be a gun of some sort and typically you’ll use it for wearing down enemy health or sometimes keeping them in the air if you get the timing right. While it can get a bit repetitive for the generic enemy types you’ll run into if you’re not careful you can still get overwhelmed. Where the mastery of the controls will be more essential is when you face the pretty nasty bosses every once in a while.

As you progress through your missions, or even if you can’t manage to complete them, you’ll accumulate experience and materials. These will allow you to craft or enhance your weapons as well as supplement your skills. In terms of the weapon and equipment upgrade system it’s not too hard to figure out how things work and with a little experimentation in the menus you’ll be able to make some more formidable weapons once you get the right parts. Of particular interest will be special parts that will allow you to add elemental attributes for some extra oomph. As for the skill system, while you’ll eventually be able to make some use of it I’m still not 100% sure what all of it is doing. You can link your skills to enhance them but precisely what you’re doing and how things work with the links is still a bit up in the air for me. I think I’ve set myself up for success but it’s difficult to confirm that and in general I have more skill points available to me than I can use so it’s an odd system.

As I mentioned up front the game can absolutely be a bit repetitive from the enemies to the level layouts but for the most part I’ve also found the action pretty compelling. Some tactics are absolutely more effective than others and if you’re not careful you’ll still get taken down, especially by the formidable bosses. Well beyond even the challenge of the bosses are elite enemies you’ll encounter that, as far as I can tell, I’m still unable to take down even though I’ve completed numerous levels beyond them. There’s simply not a great deal of explanation around some elements of the game so when in doubt you learn to simply keep rolling and hope you can complete the objectives anyway. In truth that normally does work so I assume you’ll just get back to them later. In general that rule applies as you run into problems, just keep grinding and it will all work out.

While Earth Wars isn’t a high concept title the level of quality it manages at its price point still makes it well worth checking out. If you don’t mind grinding away a bit to improve your gear to then take on some slightly tougher enemies and slowly make your way through missions and bosses it can be pretty satisfying. As long as you keep your expectation in check and fair it’s a pretty decent game to kill some time with in handheld mode while doing something else, and I can generally get behind that.

Score: 7.5

  • While a bit repetitive and grindy at times it does slowly introduce new enemies and locations
  • It has some challenging boss fights for you to work through
  • The weapon and gear upgrades you can get are pretty cool and can be fun
  • A budget price

  • The skill upgrades are a bit baffling
  • Elite enemies aren’t well explained
  • When in doubt: grind does work but can also wear thin after a while

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