Oh my god… what the hell is going on here?
Multiwinia is the sequel to the award-winning Darwinia, an original strategy game that came out in 2005. Having only heard of Darwinia and not actually played or seen it, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this sequel. From the very first time I played a match, I knew that Introversion had made something unlike a lot of the other strategy games on the market. While there are some of the usual RTS designs employed here, there’s also quite a bit of creativity that makes everything stand out.
The gameplay in Multiwinia is somewhat similar to other RTS games. You control an army of units in order to complete objectives, depending on the gametype. One of the more unique things about the game, though, is that there are no resources to collect, and you always have a steady army of troops that constantly spawn. This is simple enough, but you still have to control where everyone goes, which can be done by either selecting a group of units and giving them a point to go to, or you can “upgrade” a unit by right-clicking him, which works as a rally point of sorts, telling the units that pass him where to go. There are items in the games that come in crates as well, which are randomly placed on the map and contain something that could aid or hurt you, which mixes everything up.
Multiwinia is primarily a multiplayer game, as the multi in the name implies. The singleplayer mode is non-existent, and the only thing to do offline is play the computer in a multiplayer session. There are 6 gametypes, including your standard control everything on the map (Domination), capture the flag (Blitzkrieg), capturing specific points on the map (King of the Hill). I suggest playing through the tutorials, as the game can be confusing at first, and is somewhat hard to understand simply because of the amount of units being spawned at once. Due to the simplicity, though, the game can get boring once you grasp the different concepts, but it works well with short and light gaming sessions. There are over 50 unique maps included, and the game can be played with up to four other players, online or offline.
Graphically, Multiwinia has a really unique style going for it. While the game is 3D, everything has a pseudo-2D look to it, and the terrain itself has a cool wireframe look to it. You don’t have to worry too much about the system requirements, as the game will play on most anything these days, and you can actually download the whole game on the site, weighing in at a mere 48MB. The audio is also worth mentioning, as when the units are fighting it sounds reminiscent of Robotron 2084, the classic arcade multi-directional shooter.
While it’s lacking in singleplayer content, Multiwinia is fun, simple, and addictive. Playing the AI isn’t that fun, so take to the servers and duke it out with little digital men that shoot lasers from their hands. At $16.60/ £10, Introversion set the right price for the value, and you won’t be disappointed if you want a break from sending space marines to their doom.