Review : [Swords & Soldiers] (2010)

Developer : Romino Games
Release Year : 2010 (PC / PS3), 2009 (WiiWare)
Price : 9.99$ (PC)

Well made Side-Scrolling RTS.

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You might play [Epic Wars] series & [Age of War] from Flash Game portal. We could call them as Side Scrolling RTS. [Swords & Soldiers] is one of them, but not frustrating as [Epic Wars]. Not-so-difficult but-so-enjoyable, 3 races (Viking / Aztec / China) have their own interesting unit & spells. Total 30 stages in Campaign mode, you could clear them within 6 hours. Some people could consider it as 'Too Short', but it's good for some boring weekend. Personally I enjoyed it very much today, so I recommend it very high. But beware for hunters of 'Steam Achievements'. Some of them are made without enough consideration, too extreme.

Where to buy : Steam

P.S. : Romino Games made 'THAT' [Blob] freeware version.
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Review : [Creeper World] (2009)

Developer : Knuckle Cracker
Release year : 2009
Price : 19.99$

Good evolution of [Harvest : Massive Encounter], but still has some flaws.

This game is better than how trailer looks.

[Harvest : Massive Encounter] was good or even excellent game, but you can't win it - just survive longer, and that was big problem. Except for that, it's very well made, so some games are influenced by that. I think [Creeper World] is best among the followers.

'Collector' streams energy to far buildings, but also to produce energy. So player might build collectors properly to handle energy & gain more energy. And the best thing is, you can move weapons here & there. This is not just defense game, you can move weapons to offense. Enemy is the most unique thing in this game. They are not single objects, like 'liquid' or 'water'. At first, it's hard to understand. But after you know how it works, it gives really unique & fun experience.

To my sad, this game has many problems. 1. You can't save while playing. I spent 20 - 40 minutes for every stages until 15, but can't save in the middle of stage, so sometimes I gave up & later re-start again. It's really painful. 2. 'Water enemy' is hard to understand for their moving. Until now, I don't know exactly how they react for my attack, and have harder & longer time to survive. 3. 'Reactor' doesn't work properly. It must give player additional energy, but it's not. Even if I build over +1.0, that's not stocked in Energy bar. Maybe it's due some bug, and must be fixed.

[Creeper World] is another cool game, but something must be fixed or even re-built. And for price, I think 9.99$ + steam achievement could be much better. Could be real cult hit with that. (Of course, after some fix.)

Where to buy : Official Homepage
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Review : [Epic War 3] (2009)

Developer : Artlogic Games
Release year : 2009
Price : Free (Flash Game)

Well done side-scrolling RTS, and different from earlier series.

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Looks similar to earlier series, but entirely different.

[Epic War] series were well made Epic games, but player need to 'struggle again & again endlessly' for a long time. It was too much, and 1 stage took even 2-30 minutes to clear for [Epic War 2] boss battle. So I'm not sure I'd enjoy this one, because I expected 'much worse struggle'. To my shock, this game is not related to earlier series. You could forget earlier ones.

First of all, you can control units. For earlier series, just our units ran to the right after we summon, as we press the button. Units are summoned automatically, and we can control them as group. Goblins are faster regen, Zombies are slow but have good health to block, and Magic Cannons are good for long-range attack. We could let Goblins run to block, while Zombies are coming. When Zombies arrived, let Goblins back & Magic Cannons fire from a distance. Go Forth & Back as we wish, that's basic of RTS, as I think. (Not so sensitive command, anyway.)

And playtime is not so long. You might experienced 'too-much-time-needed' situation for earlier series, but you can win [Epic War 3] within few hours. After 1st. clear, it unlocks 'New Game Plus' & 'Cave of Trial', but they are not so hard as earlier series used to be.

With such good changes, [Epic War 3] became really fun Flash Game. With some effort, not-so-hard, you could enjoy 'Epic War'. And no more Arrow shooting, just control our main hero.

Where to play : Kongregate
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Preview : [Age of Booty] (2008)

Developer : Certain Affinity (Publisher : Capcom)
Release year : 2008
Price : 9.99$ (PC, steam)

Seems to be clever casual RTS, but can't find enemy for Multiplay.

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* This game is released for Playstation 3 / XBOX360 / PC. This preview is written after playing PC version demo. *

Capcom published 1 downloadable game, seems to be unusual case. Looks interesting, not sure it's good, so didn't buy. I found Demo yesterday & finally played.

This game has 'Hex' tiles, looks hard core while it's casual.
It has 'Hex', so seems to be turn-based, but real-time-strategy(RTS).

All you have to do is Move. Attack is done automatically, while enemy / town is 1 tile away. So move closer to the enemy, get back to regain some health with our town, and attack again. That's very casualized style of RTS, and not so bad twist. In fact, kinda good & clever.

Just the problem is, this game might be good when you do multiplay & can't find anybody. (Campaign at Demo is not so fun.) If I purchase for XBOX360, could be different. But when I try PC version & enter Gamespy server, I can't find anybody else to play with. Multyplay game w/ nobody else, it's not fun at all. (In fact, that's the destiny of every small multiplay games.)

Well. Smart move & could be new kind of RTS style. But if I can't find anybody else to play with, will not buy. Plus, it uses Securom. Who likes it, especially for Steam? I quit.

Where to buy : Steam
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This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail Interview with Jens Bergensten, who is Lead Programmer of Oxeye Game Studio. Recently they released [Harvest], kinda "Arcade Strategy game", and it supports several languages, even Korean.

Korean version of this Interview

Oxeye Game Studio homepage

Worth to try Demo, even if you don't purchase.

1. First of all, please introduce your game production Oxeye Game Studio & recent game [Harvest].

My name is Jens Bergensten and I'm the lead programmer at Oxeye Game Studio, a Swedish independent game developer.

We have four more members, Daniel Brynolf (artwork), Pontus Hammarberg (artwork), Alexander Persson (Mac programming) and Jonas Johnsson (programming). The music has been composed by Steve Olofsson.

Our game, Harvest : Massive Encounter, is an "arcade strategy game" in the sense that it's a RTS with continously increasing difficulty (like arcade games of the
80's) and high-scores.

2. [Harvest] was released several times to the Public, before official version came out. Prototype / 1st. Open Beta / 2nd. Open Beta, and finally released for sale. I can't remember any other games, released to the Public several times before sale. There might be some advantages & disadvantages about such a policy. Please let us know about that.

The first couple of versions were released mostly for fun. We had made a small prototype and wanted to share it with our Dawn of Daria fans. Then Pontus thought we should submit it to the Swedish Game Awards, and when we won a prize there the prototype version got some attention and was spread across the Internet. We decided that we should publish more test versions of the game, so when the "real" development began we already had plans for the first open beta.

We hoped that by sharing a playable version early on, we would be able to establish connections with publishers and other third part companies that would be interested in helping us with the game in the future. We also wanted to use the beta version as a marketing tool, since people are much more likely to tell their friends about a free
version than a shareware game. This worked quite nicely, the game got attention in a lot of game forums.

When we made the second open beta the objective was slightly different. This time we wanted to make sure that the game was well-balanced and "bug-free". This was quite fun, but didn't receive the same attention as the first beta. It didn't help us make the game bug-free either, because (I believe) many people who ran across bugs never told us about them.

I can strongly recommend publishing at least one open beta, it's really worth it. Independent developers should see it as a marketing strategy and not worry about "lost sales". However, there's always cases where it's not feasible, such as when you make a story-driven game. You don't want to spoil the story, and the beta should focus on the gameplay.

3. [Harvest] is somewhat unique game, RTS & Defense mixed up. How come to think about such concept? Even if it's fusion of older genres, it might NOT be so easy to do that.

This is kind of funny actually.

The original game was called "Harvest", because it was intended to be a game about harvesting resources and managing electricity. The challenge of the game was intended to be "how do I get my power lines to reach the resources..." However, this wasn't very much fun, so we simply added an enemy which looked like a green goblin head. We then needed some kind of counter, of course, and it didn't take long before we had both defense towers and missile turrets.

So I guess the reason why the game feels unusual is because we started out from something completely different.

4. [Harvest] is available in several languages, English / French / Dutch / German / Swedish and even Korean. There were some Casual Games which had Korean language before, but they had distribution channel in Korea. [Harvest] doesn't have any official channel over here in Korea, but you included that. Are there any reasons about that? Maybe too many Korean people played Open Beta in the past?

During the beta versions we got a lot of visitors from and We thought this was great and wanted to reach out to even more Korean players by supporting your language in the game.

It was difficult to make Korean work in the game due to font problems, and we had to buy a translation, so we are not sure if it will pay off. Like you said, a distribution channel would probably make it easier, but Harvest has just recently been released so we might still find somebody to cooperate with.

In any case, we enjoy the Korean version. To us Swedes, the Korean version of Harvest looks really cool ;)

5. Korean language question again. Many Pig-Min readers is curious about WHO did Korean translation, and HOW it could be so excellent. It's almost perfect, and that translation quality is much better than even some major game, as [Call of Duty 4] Korean version. So we are all shocked, and became curious. Please let us know about Deep story for Korean translation.

We requested a translation through a service called GetAFreelancer and got a lot of responses. In the end we decided to ask a translator who said he was a StarCraft player and lived in Australia. We thought the combination sounded good (Korean, Australian and StarCraft), but he wasn't the cheapest choice, so I'm very happy that you say that the translation is well done.

I think the main problem with translations is that the translator never plays the game so he/she will not see the translation in it's correct context. We were very lucky that our translator played and enjoyed Harvest, and could make suitable corrections.

We will probably ask him again if we are going to translate more games to Korean :)

6. [Harvest] won Swedish Game Awards 2007, so there might be some HUGH game scene including Indie Games, in Sweden. But all we know about Sweden is, Black & Death Metal bands as Opeth / Arch Enemy / At the Gates. Please let us know about Swedish Game scene, including Indie Games.

Haha, I don't listen to that kind of music, but I guess you are right :)

We didn't actually win, we got the second place. The winners (Puzzlegeddon) still hasn't released their game, because they are looking for publishers to bring the game on consoles (I think).

But you are right, the Swedish indie scene is huge.

Clean Asia, Noitu Love 2 and Fret Nice were all Swedish IGF finalists this year. On the shareware/more commercial market we have ArcadeLab, Silent Grove Studios (Dawnspire) and Frictional Games (Penumbra Overture).

7. You released [Harvest] recently, but you were making another game in the same time, [Dawn of Daria]. It's MMO game, very different from your other works. Please let us know about that.

Daria's our little darling project, but it's uncertain what will happen to it now.

8. Please recommend 5 GOOD games, and the reason why.

I read in a blog the other day about somebody who hadn't played StarCraft. I mean, really now... double-wee tee eff :) (Can't you produce another great Zerg player? Flash is stomping around over all competition!)

Another major game we like is Fallout. It's a fantastic RPG with a detailed world, great atmosphere (much thanks to the music) and good replay value. Bethesda better not mess up this one!

On the indie puzzle side, I would recommend Chocolate Castle by Lexaloffle. It's cute, easy to play and only a 2 MB download.

Among the real oldies, I love Mega Man (Rock Man) on the NES.

And finally, Aquaria by Bit Blot, of course. I've played through it two times, once "for real", then as a speed run. Took about 2 hours, but I haven't bothered to beat the final boss because it's tricky without the jellyfish suit :) I also made some mistakes, so I should try to make an even faster run one day.

9. Did you try some Korean games, or even heard or experienced about them? If so, please share your thoughts about that.

The only one I've tried is Ragnar?k (which means "armageddon" in Swedish), but that was a long time ago. I guess the problem is the language barrier again, because I have a hard time surfing Korean sites :)

10. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

Hello! =)

Korean version of this Interview

Oxeye Game Studio homepage
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