Microsoft have not really had many free to play games on their marketplace, apart from the odd quiz show and card games. However the release of Happy Wars, the first ‘big’ free to play released game, marks a step in the potential direction online multiplayer arcade games could be going, and with the opportunity for players to pay ‘real world’ money for items, makes me wonder how big of an effect the mobile games industry is having on console games.
Happy Wars is a fast paced, third person, fantasy themed action game with an absurd story comprising of two sides having arguments over ridiculous things which in turn spiral into war. It’s an online multiplayer which allows 30 players, with two sides, battle it out in order to gain control of the enemies fortress, while doing other objectives on the way, and levelling up all at the same time. Bodies cover the battle field as well as 30 living players, which are all created with a perky style of art and a cheap cheap styled fantasy soundtrack.
When starting a match, players get to decide between- a warrior, cleric and mage; which to put simply is, long range, close range and support and you characters you select in all game modes in order to gain them better equipment. Once you have selected your class you spawn into your teams fortress and alongside your team, are ready to go head on with the enemy. The game has a time limit and if I a victor has not be found then a winner is decided, but with the time I spent playing Happy Wars it never succumbed to this. Players all start at level one for each battle, but still get their equipment, and have to level up as much as they can buy, obviously doing objectives and killing enemy players, in order to gain special skills which in turn makes you stronger! There is not much chance of one person changing the outcome of a battle in Happy Wars but having a large number, of similar dressed strange looking characters, all working together to complete an objective, makes for interesting and fun combat.
Each of the three character modes have different skill sets which are set in stone and cannot be changed, but they have to be unlocked as you level up in battle. You soon understand each ability for each lass, but its knowing when best to use each ability which tally you higher than your foes. The sound effects when attacking are much like other fantasy games but as you can expect from a free to play, they aren’t as advanced., however it seems to fit nicely with the art style of the game as I mentioned earlier.
Happy Wars has a great AI, if there isn’t enough players to fill a game the AI will simply add bots in order to fill the game, however they’d split the teams to try to add an even number of players as there are bots which is great. Whilst playing Happy Wars I saw many players that had simple real world names which I found was odd, but it wasn’t until later that i realised these were the bots, and there better than some of the real world players too. They help with objectives and they fight with the team helping to slay whatevers in their path, using skill sets as they should be used, and healing players unlike many others playing as that class, that is if anyone actually decides to be a healer.
The main point about the game is the fact that its free, and this appealed to me, it’s actually why I decided to play it in the first place. However you can still pay your hard earned real world money if you feel you have to, by buying Happy Tokens. This is the real world currency within the game that you can spend within the store on customization for your character, and one customization I like the most is the face packs which can change the appearance of your character, to set it out from the rest. Even though you can play Happy wars without needing to spend money on happy tokens, by finding chests and hidden items, I suppose its good that players still get the choice.
Happy Wars, as I mentioned earlier, has three different game modes being multiplayer, co-op and a campaign mode, which all still go by the same objectives, knocking towers down building them, then getting to the fortress. Each mode is just like any other multiplayer, co-op has the other side as AI’s but apart from that its just like multiplayer, and campaign (as I mentioned earlier) follows a ridiculous story but the game play is just like multiplayer however everyone is a bot other than you. The great thing about Happy Wars is that each character can be used on each mode, meaning all the customizations carry over too, and a lot of the campaign can’t be unlocked until your player has levelled up, meaning that you have to go online with your character and do so. It’s not amazing, but it helps players to really understand how to use their characters.
All in all I’m fond of the idyllic charm Happy Wars has surrounding its gameplay and I believe its sound track works well alongside it, however this can all get boring after a while which really lets the game down. The game honestly feels extremely repetitive after any amount of extended play and can often leave the player wanting more. The modes don’t offer much in comparison to multiplayer, with the biggest difference being the absurd story line on campaign, which again I find cannot be played for any length of time. I believe the AI works well within Happy Wars and helps to level teams out along with starting games sooner by allowing bots so fill in online slots. I don’t believe the micro transactions are needed in Happy Wars as there are plenty pf things hidden around each map and coins can be collected to buy equipment, which helps to extend gameplay, so I believe using real money is pointless and changes how fair the game really is. Overall I didn’t find the game exciting but I’ll definitely play it when I have nothing else today, and as it is free I wouldn’t ever deter someone away from giving it a go.
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