I have spent all week waiting for a Star Trek Online press key from Cryptic. One finally showed up in my email, so I raced to begin the install. A few minutes went by…then an hour…then three. Deciding that some kind of quantum physics were at work and it would never finish downloading if I kept watching it, I hopped on my 360 and decided to finally check out Greed Corp, the new Xbox Live Arcade title from W! Entertainment.
This RTS/German-flavored board-ish game tasks you with maintaining enough resources to protect the tiles you stand on from being crumbled into pebbles, while building up enough of an offense to destroy the very ground your enemies stand on. Whoever survives lives to fight another day. Though it sounds like a simple game, and it is (in terms of elements in flux), the logic of it makes it infinitely complex, like a less timeless chess. The simplicity of the game makes it easy to enjoy, but not so easy that I would say this is a great place to start for an RTS novice. Despite having only five unit types (a simple walker to take over territory, a harvester to mine for resources, a cannon to destroy enemies, a carrier to transport walkers through the air, and armories to build new units), there’s a bit of a learning curve here.
For the rest of us, though, this is a neat little package for $10. There’s a pretty full campaign mode here, smoothly blending resource management and warfare against worthy AI opponents. The real fun here is in the multiplayer, though. Like almost all games, it’s better with a friend—especially if you can snag a real-world pal to knock hexes with you. I did—and though my Star Trek Online download had finished, it had been forgotten. Good luck trying to find someone to play online with you, though--Greed Corp gamers are few and far between.
Attacking enemy territory is thoroughly satisfying. Bombing a tile and watching it, along with several neighbors if you’ve planned your attack well, crumble and fall away into the infinity of space makes me feel like some sort of invisible Mecha Bowser, stomping on whatever and whomever I damn well please. When my tiles fall away of my own accord (using harvesters to mine your earth for cash eats away at your territory little by little), the collapse animation hammers the frustration home.
The game sounds suitably epic, too. This is some of the best sound design I've heard on an XBLA title. The aforementioned tile crumbling is so satisfying mostly because you can hear every chunk of stone colliding as it breaks off from a dying tile. Cannons cranking around to point at their intended target sound straight out of medieval England. At least that's what I am imagining; my childhood dream of becoming a female incarnation of Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court has yet to materialize. It will soon. The soundtrack is a deceptively simple background flight of fancy; birds chirp and crickets tweet while you destroy the only homes they have ever known. Even unconsciously, this goes a long way in promoting the concentrating and "getting in the zone" that is required when seriously strategizing.
I’m going to level with you here. If you’ve never stayed up all night playing Settlers with good friends, and you couldn’t even get through C&C3 for the Tricia Helfer cut scenes, this is not the game for you. If you don’t like this genre, you’re not going to like this game. It’s not one of those genre-busters that rakes in the converts. But if you do like RTS, and you prefer your game boards to be made up of a bunch of little hexagons, don’t hesitate to download this solid title.
More On:Greed Corp
An RTS/boardgame hybrid that's worth your $10, if you're into resource management. Although for the same price, you can get a new copy of Hail to the Chimp...
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