An Inexpensive Action-RPG
Released a few years ago on PC and other platforms, Earth Wars, a 2D ARPG now makes the jump to the Switch. Unlike a lot of titles ported to the system, Earth Wars was unique in the fact that instead of having a cost similar to the RRP of when it first made it to other platforms, it was released at a staggeringly cheap $4.50 on Switch. Is it worth its small price of admission?
The year is 2020 and things are pretty awful on Earth. It seems to have been nearly totally overrun by aliens and now the resistance that is taking on the alien invaders has made a breakthrough in some kind of technology that can make the push back to save the planet as well as its inhabitants. The plot is simple and the story telling stays consistent with that theme of simplicity. You serve in the elite combat unit, get orders from people in the base and then make your way to the battlefield to deal justice to alien scum.
The gameplay is simple, but solid. You will find yourself in a 2D location somewhere in America and must go left or right, up and down to fight the invaders. Combat offers a few tricks and a bit of variety, but remains rather easy to pick up and play. You possess a sword and a gun, with your sword the direction you press and location of the enemy will make you do a different attack. Hold down on the D-Pad and you’ll do a jumping flip strike, hold up and you’ll do something different. The gun I found to be a bit odd, fired with ‘X’ the primary use for your weapon isn’t as much about killing foes but getting rid of the shield on specific enemies. The shield never seemed to help them all that much when I neglected to use my pistol. On top of that you can double jump, dash, and do a slide on the floor. Finally after tallying up 50% or more charge you can enter “exceed” mode where you will be more powerful and be able to unleash a devastating attack. Combine all these mechanics and a lot of options do open up for you when attacking enemies and it does lead trying to dodge and kill as quickly as possible to get a good ranking for that fight.
Of course we can’t overlook he enemies themselves and Earth Wars offers a decent variety. Flying aliens, foot soldiers with guns, underground, nimble, giant saw wielding and more there’s a lot to take on and each one requires a different approach and fighting against them is a good bit of fun. After a while it can become a bit monotonous as you’ll find yourself adopting the same strategy for each type of enemy and as the enemies level up as your progress through the story and instead of offering new types each level sometimes you just face off against slightly tweaked versions.
You will do more than just face off against grunts in Earth Wars — be prepared to tackle giant bosses typically found at the end of each main mission, but not all. These foes offer some neat visual designs and fights. Trying to score a good rank will take some effort and you better make sure you have the best equipment for the job.
Being an ARPG means that the combat and the customization of gear and skills are a major part of the game. By acquiring materials in the field you can then use these to craft new weapons, armours, and even a few visual upgrades. The swords and guns don’t really vary that much in terms of practical use, but the increased stats and added benefits like poison will really make the difference later as you make your way across the State. You can also select what skills you want to have equipped which mostly boils own to just increasing specific stats, but can offer more than just that.
One of the best ways to obtain materials for new equipment is to take to the the secondary missions which offer a variety of slightly different objectives than the primary missions do. Defeat a certain type of enemy, survive a wave of attacks, find a specific item and many more — at the end of the day they only vary slightly and you will spend most of your time just running to the side attacking enemies. That leads me onto a slightly weird mechanic and that being the fact that the game does in a way force you to partake in secondary missions as an in-game time must reach zero before going on the next main mission. It normally only takes three to four missions to get it to zero and you’ll want to do these anyway to level up, but I did find it baffling.
Visually the game looks great and unique. Something a bit like an anime South Park I suppose you could say as it feels like you are controlling a paper cut out. The locales are bit brown and drab at times, but I suppose that should be expected from war torn continent.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Earth Wars was provided by One-or-Eight.