Greed Corp Review

As a chess-loving youngster, I later found its gaming equivalent(-ish) in the fantasy game and series, Heroes of Might and Magic. Early iterations were simple, often ending in bitter endgames. Sometimes these were drawn out over hours, but they were never stalemates. Even ostensibly simple turn-based strategy games like Heroes can have a wealth of depth, and Greed Corp presents an impressive modern example.

Before analyzing its strategy, the quirky presentation deserves mention. The setting is up in the clouds, battles taking place on lofty pillars of earth that each support a hexagonal tile. Fights take place between an assortment of steampunk armies, ranging from steam-propelled carrier planes to extravagant, lumbering robots with huge drills attached. Accompanying all of this are a few ragtime tunes, a perfectly spry backdrop to some retro-futuristic warfare.

Greed Corp

Unfortunately, beneath this lies a clustered tutorial throwing basic concepts around the place without due care. Nevermind, because Greed Corp is meant to be learned by doing, and the strong, 24-level campaign mode presents the means to do so.

As I moved through each of the four factions’ sub-campaigns, I grew to realize the significance of harvesting, this game’s resource mechanic. Building a harvester on a tile will make it harvest the ground beneath it each turn, taking its pillar and the six pillars surrounding it down a level. Eventually, well, one runs out of levels, and pillars crumble away into nothingness. Soon, what was a huge map full of tiles will be reduced to isolated pillars scattered around. This is Greed Corp‘s endgame and, to its credit, undeniably not a stalemate scenario. Battles will end.

The key quality of this harvesting mechanic, beyond the novelty, is that it makes battles swift. Typically they’ll last only ten to twenty minutes, this aided by a sixty second time limit for each turn. A few other design choices also help to give the game urgency, like letting troops move over many tiles at once, but only once. Or making crumbling pillars take down nearby fragile pillars with it. These actions also encourage strategy. Meanwhile, the limited range of actions per turn prevents the time limit from feeling overwhelming. Yet, the several options that are there, like firing off cannons, self-destructing harvesters, occupying enemy tiles ground, or air-based invasion, combine to provide depth.

The main campaign mode does feel cyclic by its later stages, even with skill increases for enemy AI, but it provides a strong practice ground for the (up to) four-way multiplayer, where the real fun is to be had. Sadly, not enough people are playing the game over Xbox Live at present, so unless you’ve got friends to play with, locally or online, you might end up fruitlessly searching for matches outside of peak time.

I’m optimistic that players will pick this up over time, though. Sure, there are some concerns over indiscernible units and the campaign mode’s occasionally bone-headed AI, but these are trifling matters. Nonetheless, Greed Corp does what’s important for a small turn-based strategy game: keep it simple, allow for depth. For all that praise, though, now I’m the mood to buy a steampunk-themed chess set.


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Author: Sinan Kubba View all posts by

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