Are you looking for a real-time strategy/side-scrolling/tug-of-war/resource management/tower defense game? Look no further! Developer Two Tribes hits all those points in Swords & Soldiers, a game available now in the Nintendo Switch eShop.
What's it about?
Swords & Soldiers is a 2D side-scrolling video game that lets you control an army with unique characters and magic abilities. There are four factions to choose from: the Vikings, the Aztecs, the Chinese, and Chief Meat's army.
Each faction has their own campaign and storyline that melds with the others as you play through their respective campaigns. Each campaign boils down to 10 separate tug-of-war battles between your faction and another.
How's the gameplay?
From the beginning of the first campaign, you jump right into the action. Swords & Soldiers teaches as you go, slowly allowing you access to more units and spells as you gain an understanding of how they work.
I appreciated the simplicity of the controls in Swords & Soldiers. A very common theme of strategy games is you have way too many options and have to pick and choose what units and spells to use. In most levels for Swords & Soldiers, I could use all of my units, spells and upgrades, which I found to be a big plus.
Three favorite things?
1) The resource management is great in this game. Players collect gold and mana during the game to build units and use spells.
The beginning levels are easy enough to allow you to get used to the game and the later levels in the campaigns challenge your management skills of these two resources. I liked that it wasn't too hard to where I wanted to quit, but I would restart a level if I had trouble and thought of a better way to handle the level.
2) The time it takes to complete each level gives you the chance to pick it up for some quick play or continue for longer sessions. This helped make the game much more mobile and playable for me because I already have a lot of games that require large amounts of time during a play session.
3) The factions are balanced! Having played a lot of strategy games, it's not always easy to balance a game out fairly. Swords & Soldiers does very well in having counters for each unit type and spell among the factions. This actually made it difficult for me to decide on a favorite faction (I think I liked the Aztecs the most).
Any issues with the game?
I did find the choice of one word during the social interaction between two of the factions in the storyline to be considered culturally inappropriate. If you play through the game, see if you notice what I'm referring to. (Note: The folks at Two Tribes have reached out to me to ask for more information on this. I was happy to hear they wanted to know more about my reasoning behind this comment. Who knows, maybe they'll update the text in the game at some point.)
The graphics are cute and clean (I like games with lots of color) and the music/sound effects are enjoyable. The storyline itself is completely silly - one of the factions is trying to protect their sacred chili pepper while another wants to get the best sauce for their barbecue.
There are some fun elements to break up the repetitive nature of a tug-of-war game, including chances to roll boulders down the battlefield and have a flying dragon breathe fire at your enemies.
Other features include: multiplayer options, game speed options, an achievement system(!) and challenge modes.
Swords & Soldiers is out now in the Nintendo Switch eShop. If you pick it up, let me know which faction you liked the most!
Disclaimer: The lovely folks at Two Tribes sent me a game code for the Nintendo Switch version as a member of the press. All opinions about Swords & Soldiers are my own.
I played through the campaigns for the Vikings, Aztecs and Chinese factions for this review.