Published on October 16th, 2012 | by Francois Chang2
XBLA: Happy Wars is a not so free game that offers cute fun
Happy Wars is a cute multiplayer game, which pits two teams of 15-players against each other in a territorial battle. Matches consist of head-on combat as teams strive to build towers and tear down the enemy’s fortresses. Getting stuck alone is disadvantageous. Players will have to build and disassemble towers when they’re outnumbered by groups of enemies. It’s a slow process, and teamwork is key. Players must understand the importance of balancing the class system, arranging healers and warriors effectively.
For Xbox Live gold members, Happy Wars is free to download. If you’re not a PAID XBLA subscriber or your membership runs out, then you will not be able to play this title. It’s one of those games where you need to be connected online in order to play. Also, much like Facebook social games, it offers players micro-transactions.
The game features solo and multiplayer modes. The campaign mode allows you to play alone with computer teammates and enemies. And yes, you still need to be on Xbox Live in order to play this exclusively offline mode. The campaign centers on a kidnapped princess that is quite forgettable. Most likely, you will skip through the dialogue to get back into the action. Where story fails, the AI holds up. Smart computers and bots will help you keep your sanity.
Co-op mode has players team up with their human friends against teams of non-human players, while multiplayer is a mix and match of humans and computers. Players can use characters they level up in the single-player campaign in multiplayer competition. That is a huge plus, which gives new people a chance to grow without being crushed by online players who have months more experience.
With up to 30 players concurrently on screen, keeping track of your character is not always easy. It’s difficult to differentiate friend from foe in this Happy scuffle. With time and patience, organization will come, but newcomers will struggle with aimless attacks.
As mentioned before, Happy Wars is as cute as it comes. The sights match up with the adorable noises made by the in-game characters as well. Sure it doesn’t match up with the visually stunning games of today, but the world needs games like Happy Wars. Heck, how many war or battle games are cute anymore? Not very many.
Subscription services like PlayStation Plus already offer a handful of free games, which brings great value to paying a monthly cost. Happy Wars is, hopefully, the first step in the right direction for Xbox Live. The game plays well and offers a good amount of content to come back for more. Leveling up with friends, unlocking content and peer-to-peer battles is everything you look for in a third-person, RPG-style game. For those with Xbox Live, Happy Wars is a neat bonus to your paid subscription. For everyone else, it’s hard to see Happy Wars as a viable reason to come running to the XBLA community.