Mushroom Wars 2 is a sequel in the award-winning mobile real time strategy series by Zillion Whales. The game itself debuted on mobile platforms as well as made appearances on both the XBOX One and PlayStation 4 in 2016 and today released on the console-handheld hybrid Nintendo Switch.
The game itself has been described by its developers as a “short-session real time strategy game”, which is a perfect way to describe it. Featuring fast-paced, simplistic gameplay for rookie RTS players and with tons of depth for more experienced players, the game plays like a fairly standard RTS where you must capture strategic points on the map, upgrade your units and buildings and inevitably capture either all of your opponent’s buildings, destroy all their troops or in some cases, capture a single “special” building to win your mission.
Mushroom Wars 2 features four different races of mushroom people with twelve “hero” characters with their own traits and four skills, offering many options on how to progress. Each session you play is relatively brief, with most story missions taking me about 2-5 minutes depending on difficulty whereas online matches can last as little as 1 minute (don’t judge me, I’m no master commander) to as long as 15 minutes.
Despite some monotony, the core gameplay is enjoyable and with every map having its own unique configurations of buildings, players can proceed their own way and utilize strategies they learn to accommodate to each new landscape. While I can’t say for sure how well it controls on other platforms, it plays well on the Nintendo Switch.
STORY / CHARACTERS
Mushroom Wars 2 features a campaign mode with two separate chapters and over one hundred missions to play. When you begin the campaign, you are thrust into easy difficulty missions with a focus more on teaching you the basics but upon completion of these missions, you will unlock higher difficulties and progress through the story, witnessing newest environments and unlocking new heroes to play with. As previously stated, there are sixteen hero characters to played as with their own unique look and skills. The game presents its story through hand drawn screens and cut-scenes that are purely text based.
GRAPHICS / PERFORMANCE
Featuring hand drawn characters, backgrounds and general art that is both cute and slightly creepy at times, the attention to detail is amazing and quite charming. However, while the art style is very charming, it leaves a lot to be desired as it is fairly simplistic but being a port of a mobile title, this was to be expected. However the game does perform fairly well, with no slowdown even during skirmishes featuring 600+ troops on screen.
SOUND / MUSIC / VOICE ACTING
While it features no formal voice acting, the game does feature a lot of sound effects that are well done and match the subject matter such as the “hoorays” and jeers of your little mushroom troops, the explosions of bombs from towers and the clashing of weapons from the combat. The music, while very simple is good and helps maintain the atmosphere of the game.
MULTIPLAYER / ONLINE CAPABILITIES
Mushroom Wars 2 features both a local and online multiplayer component. The local mode allows up to four players to play together in 1v1, three and four way free-for-all or 2v2 modes and even features CPU bots so you can always have someone to play with which is a welcome addition especially considering the portable nature of the Switch itself.
The online component is very robust featuring both ranked and unranked multiplayer modes, a leaderboard and the ability to save replays of your multiplayer matches. The online is very steady and in my few online matches, I had absolutely zero lag or performance issues in both TV mode and handheld/tabletop mode.
As someone who isn’t the most experienced at RTS titles, the matchmaking is rather fair and pairs you usually with someone closer to your skillset which makes your defeats and victories feel deserved as opposed to being demolished by someone who could probably run the US army (aside from my first match where I did get steamrolled).
As the game features a fairly deep campaign mode where levels can be replayed at higher difficulties, both online and offline multiplayer plus the ability to play with bots, there is plenty to do in the game and a ton of room for players to perfect the game. With a wide variety of heroes to try, you can also spend a lot of time just trying to figure out your main.
While I’m not the biggest fan of real time strategy titles, I had a fairly good time playing Mushroom Wars 2 as it is very newbie friendly and is fairly cute through its presentation. The addition of local multiplayer and bots is a welcome addition as it allows for a quick way to kill some time with a bunch of people. Despite its shortcomings, I would recommend Mushroom Wars 2 to people looking for a easy to pick up and play title and to fans of the real time strategy genre. Mushroom Wars 2 for Nintendo Switch gets a 7.5 out of 10 in my books.