Multiwinia Review

Darwinia was a surprise success in 2005. Developed by Introversion Software, the game came on the scene during the height of the “graphics=better!” debate, and promptly shut up many supporters.

The game was the clich√© but startlingly sad tale of the Darwinians, small creatures which live in a Tron-like world inside of a computer server hosted by a scientist named Dr. Sepulveda. A virus broke out, and the inhabitants became infected, throwing the once great land into a state of panic and war, and creating a new group of beings: the Multiwinians. But really, the story isn’t what’s important in the game; it’s the gameplay.

If Darwinia fans voted on one thing they would have wanted in the original release, chances are multiplayer would top the list. Several years later, we get a chance to experience the game with other people in the form of Multiwinia. Much like the name suggests, Multiwinia is all about multiplayer; even the single player fare is ultimately just offline multi. In total there are six game modes and 44 maps available in the game, all of which are unlocked from the moment you start up. (Meaning you don’t have to beat any campaigns to get your full money’s worth.)

The six modes of play include Domination, King of the Hill, Assault, Rocket Riot, Capture the Statue, and Blitzkrieg. All modes have their own unique aspects and purposes, so when you combine that with the number of maps, you’ll see that there’s a lot of action to be had. When you combine modes which get features like randomly dropping item crates-which could contain something great, or something devastating like giant spiders-it’s hard to not find a combination you’ll have fun with.

Much like Darwinia, RTS regulars will have no trouble at all with the game, and may in fact be put off by the simplistic nature of the gameplay. Don’t let that fool you, though, because once you learn the ins and outs the game can become surprisingly deep. It won’t ever compete for Greatest RTS Difficulty Ever awards, but there’s much more to the diminutive 2D creatures than meets the eye.

Sadly, the strongest part of the game-online multiplayer-is also the weakest due to a lack of regular players. During peak hours, you’ll be lucky to find more than a handful of matches occurring, and many of those are between people who got on to specifically play each other. Darwinia itself was a cult hit, and Multiwinia seems to be the same; unfortunately, the cult status hurts the number of available opponents.

The other rotten apple in Multiwinia’s bushel is the lack of true customization for game modes. Much of what you see is what you’ll get, and in a day and age where gamers want to customize everything, it’s rare to see that.

At a bargain title price, Multiwinia offers a great bang for the buck in the ever popular gameplay hours:money spent ratio-if you can find people to play with. If you have friends who own or will give Multiwinia a shot, by all means buy it. If not, wait for the Xbox Live Arcade release, Darwinia+, which will combine both Darwinia and Multiwinia into one package. If that doesn’t sell like hotcakes, there’s no hope for the world.

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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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