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Greed Corp.

The world of Mistbound is one populated with both desperation and greed. Four factions find themselves effectively stranded on an island isolated by a seemingly endless ocean of mist on all sides. With limited real estate and opposing views of how to care for what land and resources remain, conflict has been the one constant for the people of Mistbound. In fact, war is what keeps the Cartel, Empire and Pirates going, while the Freemen try and chart their own peaceful path. Greed Corp. chronicles some of these conflicts, but it is only a small glimpse into the emergent industrial story crafted by W!Games.

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Greed Corp. like many other strategy games has a simple straightforward objective: eliminate your enemies. To achieve this end you have a small stable of units and structures to deploy while spreading your influence over the hexagonally divided board. The basic game flow includes building harvesters to make money, building cannons to soften enemy troop emplacements, deploying walkers to capture more hexs to build on and keeping an eye on your opponents’ turns. Admittedly there aren’t a whole lot of things to spend money on in Greed Corp.; in fact there’s only six in total including two buildings, a transport, a basic unit, a cannon and the ammunition to fire said cannon. At first glance the options available to the player appear to be extremely underwhelming but that isn’t buying what Greed Corp. is selling.

The major game changing difference about Greed Corp. is the ability to destroy every single hex on the board. When a match starts the board is populated with dozens of tiles of varying heights, those being the tallest requiring five impacts before crumbling into the mist below. Directly relating to that is the fact that harvesting resources physically hurts the environment, specifically damaging the hex the harvester is built on and any adjacent to it. Since harvesting is a valuable source of money it’s important to place them strategically to maximize your income without crippling your other operations; however, given their ability to literally destroy their surroundings they double as an invaluable weapon against your enemies’ tiles.

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Learning the basics and necessary uses of each structure/unit will take no time whatsoever. The campaign tutorial will run you through a quick match and tell you what to do but it does a pretty poor job of telling you what you’re actually doing. Fortunately the early battles of the campaign are straightforward and the computer controlled AI factions shouldn’t pose too much of an immediate threat as you’re getying to grips with the game. Despite a rather lengthy single player campaign Greed Corp. is primarily a multiplayer title. Yes there are twenty plus missions divided between the four factions but they all have the same win condition: kill or be killed. This isn’t to say the campaign isn’t worth playing; progress will net you maps to use in custom games, while studying the increasingly intelligent AI will help you form some strategies of your own. In essence the entire campaign serves the greater purpose of being one long tutorial to get you thinking before you start taking on live opponents.

Greed Corp. is a perfect example of less being more. The entire experience is streamlined to get you past the ‘game’ side of the title. This might be conceived by some as a lack of content but it serves the sole purpose of making the entry level immediately accessible to anyone, thus allowing them to get into the meat of the title: the strategy. Matches are also streamlined by a sixty second timer per turn and the fact that the playing field is steadily shrinking in thanks to players’ actions. These factors force players to act quickly and consider conflict sooner, rather than remain idol and thus prolonging the game.

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Given the title’s heavy reliance on multiplayer the option to play games with any combination of local players, online players and various CPU opponents is extremely welcome. Given the board game roots of Greed Corp. there isn’t anything better than playing the game locally with a few patient and open minded friends. Realistically, many of us don’t have those and the online suite is easy to navigate, allowing you to host or join friendly and ranked matches with a few simple clicks. Finding players can sometimes take a little time given the small community but once you’ve found your way into a game things tend to run hitch free. The only feature the multiplayer could have probably used is a filter to find players of a comparable skill level; although everyone starts at the same skill level it’s obvious some players will get their strategies down before others.

Greed Corp. is a great debut for the Mistbound universe and is sure to please turn-based strategy fans. Its clever use of environmental destruction creates a faster paced game while its light feature set cuts down the steep learning curve the genre can be known for. Greed Corp. puts strategy first, delivering a game that fits the venerable bill of easy to learn but hard to master. Furthermore, it finally proves destroying the environment is actually quite fun.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

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