Swords & Soldiers on WiiWare, and subsequently on the 3DS and Wii U eShop stores, earned fans through its combination of solid real time strategy and bright, colourful humour. Taking a 2D perspective and tasking you with simply researching and deploying units as the battle unfolds, it's an accessible experience that can still throw up a reasonable level of challenge.
It's certainly exciting news that Ronimo Games — which has enjoyed success with Awesomenauts on Sony and Microsoft systems — is bringing the sequel to the 2D RTS exclusively to Wii U, as announced earlier this year. It's a familiar and popular brand among dedicated Nintendo download fans, and on those grounds alone will surely be eagerly anticipated ahead of release later this year or, in a worst case scenario, in 2015.
We had a chance to play through a demo of the title while chatting to studio producer Robin Meijer, once again putting our questionable multi-tasking abilities at the forefront. Nevertheless we enjoyed our 15-20 minutes with the new title — though touch controls and the Wii Remote pointer will be supported, we tackled a dual stick control setup. Standard units are researched and built through a combination of the left trigger and analogue stick, while magic abilities are likewise on the right side of the controller. After some initial confusion as we figured it out, we instinctively got the hang of the system; it could quite easily become the control scheme of choice for more experienced players. It's a cleverly designed setup in light of the hands-off approach to strategy at play, and is certainly quicker to execute than pointing with the Wii Remote.
Our early impressions also gave us confidence that this title will feature the same level of humour and zaniness of the first entry, with a drunken old viking that goes on a rampage as a field-clearing berzerker move, and the ability to turn enemies into sheep. A particularly funny unit, meanwhile, hurls meat at allies to heal them — we set up a pretty useful "healing train" at one point purely by accident, by virtue of noisy and crowded press events not being the best venue for figuring out the intricacies of unit abilities. Seeing a group of soldiers press onwards as meat is hurled at them from behind is quite a sight.
That's another key area that we enjoyed in our brief time with the game, as Swords & Soldiers II looks fantastic. Cartoon-styled visuals, now the calling card of Ronimo Games, look terrific, with slick animation contributing to the spectacle.
Overall, this clearly has the potential to be a funny, entertaining and accessible experience on the Wii U eShop. We look forward to seeing more, and you can do so in the video below, in which Meijer talks us through the early stages and answers a few questions.
Be sure to check out our other hands on features from E3 and the post-E3 event in London:
- Exploring the Depths of Affordable Space Adventures
- Throwing Down in Shigeru Miyamoto's Mech Maker, Project Giant Robot
- HD Brawling With Super Smash Bros. For Wii U
- Breaking Out With Siesta Fiesta on 3DS
- Going Portable With Super Smash Bros. For 3DS
- Hyrule Warriors Is Zelda, But Not As We Know It
- Getting Our Hands Dirty in Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley
- Bewitching Bayonetta 2 Brings Action Gaming To A Climax On Wii U
- Taking Sonic Boom for a Spin on Wii U and 3DS
- Moulding Clay With Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- Getting Creative With Mario Maker
- Solving the puzzle of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
- Enjoying the craft of Yoshi's Woolly World
- Taking aim with Nintendo's new online shooter IP, Splatoon