As the first entry in the Mistbound universe, Greed Corp. represents the same style of board games found in the Xbox Live Arcade releases Catan and Carcassone, while distinguishing itself with a dynamic playing field. The game is a love letter to the industrial revolution and places an emphasis on the strategic benefits of environmental destruction.
From an overhead perspective, the player’s aim is to take control of the grid and eliminate the enemy presence completely. With plenty of length in the game’s campaign and numerous multiplayer options, Greed Corp. will justify its 800 Microsoft Point price tag, at least after you’ve had some time to move beyond the game’s tutorial, which serves as an extremely poor representation of the depth you’ll experience throughout the remainder of the game.
What just about every match in Greed Corp. comes down to is trying to section off parts of each map as island bases for your faction. Destroying plots of land with harvesters will not only destroy whichever tile they’re placed on, but will also level the surrounding tiles and earn coins for each effected surface. While it may take some trial and error figuring out which tiles need to be dropped in specific missions, it’s ultimately a satisfying experience watching the towering platforms crumble from Mistbound’s skyline, as the debris falls away from the playing field.
By moving units called walkers over tiles, the hexagons will take on the color of your faction and allow for you to build on that particular lot of land. Whether you’re playing as the Cartel, Empire, Freemen, or the Pirates faction, the differences don’t go beyond aesthetic representations, with some different themed buildings and slightly different looking walkers.
While the gameplay may be turn-based, each turn is confined to 60 seconds, pausing only when harvesters self-destruct and gun turrets are ordered to fire on the opposition. There’s no way of skipping CPU turns and they take their time building walkers and ordering them around the grid. This is fairly frustrating, as a lot of your success depends upon trial and error in the campaign, meaning you may have to watch the same scenario unfold repeatedly. This turns out to be something of a mixed blessing, though, as online players typically use up all of their time and waiting any longer than 3 minutes between turns would cause matches to drag on forever.
There’s a refreshing dose of flexibility in the game’s multiplayer. A combination of computer, local, or online players can be grouped together for Xbox Live battles. It’s good to see Xbox Live Arcade developers still believing in the concept of local multiplayer, something that’s been excluded from far too many games on the service. Taking into account that there’s already an absence of interest in forming an online community so close to the game’s launch, this addition is likely the only way you’ll be able to experience the multiplayer. There may be a few glitches with the leader boards, as a couple of my ranked games have gone unrecorded, although I can’t apologize for the fact that only two-hundred people have been ranked with two full weeks separating the game from its release at the time of this writing.
Accompanied by smooth jazz, the game sells the gloomy atmosphere W!Games is going for quite nicely, as they seem to be holding themselves to the dreary overtones and highly industrialized themes at the center of Greed Corp.’s style. It’s a different sort of game, filling its niche fairly well. This is a surprisingly good introduction to the universe of Mistbound, even if the dynamic layers of the playing field aren’t necessarily enough to make it a better game than the German-style board games that inspired it. If you’re looking into buying Greed Corp., just be sure that you’re doing so for the right reasons; while the game’s not for everyone, players with enough patience to wade through the tutorial, however, will find an enjoyable, lengthy campaign, complimented by a promising Xbox Live mode that just doesn’t have the backing of a strong community.