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Feature: Ronimo Games Walks Us Through Swords & Soldiers II

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Sheep transformations, hurling meat to heal and more

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:

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User Comments (27)

Ralek85

#2

Ralek85 said:

@Shiryu Yap, me too. I own and played it on several platforms by now. Which in turn makes we wonder though, how long will this stay a WiiU exclusive, this time around.

Monkeh

#3

Monkeh said:

Dual screen co-op/versus, that's freaking great! Was going to buy it nonetheless, but that's a pretty awesome feature if you ask me (one I wish Mario Kart 8 had).

Spoony_Tech

#5

Spoony_Tech said:

Can't wait for this. I enjoyed the first so much I own it 3 times. Although the 3ds version is just unplayable with that crappy frame rate.

Ralek85

#6

Ralek85 said:

@Shiryu Sure, but if it comes to PC/PS4/X1 there is little point for me to get it on WiiU. Well, only time will tell ...

schizor

#7

schizor said:

The guy answering questions seems a little nervous, or is it just me? :-)

Emblem

#8

Emblem said:

So pro controller is supported this time? 2 player with the Wii mote was too unbalanced last time.

Edit: The devs were really active on Miiverse for the last release which was very cool.

rjejr

#9

rjejr said:

I remember when they ported the original to PS3 and they were talking up how the Dualshock controller scheme - very similar to what is talked about here - was superior to the Wii pointer. It wasn't, and I didn't play the game until the Move suppot was enabled. I'll be buying this and playing it day 1 but w/ either touchscreen or pointer support, not that tacked on later dual stick nonsense.

Too bad this its still at least months away. I asked them on Facebook and go t the same reply of late 2014 or early 2015 for a release date. That's kind of a bummer as the holiday is always filled w/ other games, this would have been great in Aug or Sept before HW releases. Oh well, still day 1 if it's $15 or less.

Ralek85

#13

Ralek85 said:

@dumedum "it's obviously the definitive version" - May I ask, how do you figure that?

@Shiryu Well, honestly the gamepad screen is not my second choice, not even my third. It's like this: my Plasma TV, Vita Oled, IPS Monitor (barely in use at all but still) ... Gamepad Screen. I don't tend to favour LCD screens, not for anything really, haven't in a long time.
If I have the choice to get the game on the PS4, no doubt in 1080p/60fps (maybe even with some nice stereoscopic 3D and move support, as with the first game) + Vita Cross-Play/Cross-Save/Cross-Buy or even just Remoteplay, then I know what I'll pick. That would be a 'defintive' version for me^^ That's not even accounting for the lower final price point on the PS4.
This may sound harsh but due the overall inferiortiy of the WiiU, when it comes to performance, features and price, I have no plan to buy anything else on the system but exclusives. I think anyone owning a PS4/X1 or maybe even PC will think probably the same way, since it's not really subjective. If a multiplatform game had a really, really, really great gamepad integration, I might reconsider, but that is a huge If right there.

Wesker

#14

Wesker said:

Does anyone know if this is coming out for a playstation platform? I loved the first one on Wii, but don't own or plan on owning a Wii U.

Ralek85

#17

Ralek85 said:

@DarkCoolEdge Off-Tv is offered by every PS4 game, so no matter if it is a gift from the gods or not, it's nothing the WiiU offers over other systems (X1 aside). PC is special, since I can plug inseveral display at my leisure, I can stream via several applications to display devices, I can even just go ahead and use my laptop ... a plethora of options.
The gamepad screen is way to bad to be a real alternative, sometimes, like during a boring soccer game those last weeks, I played MK8 on it for distraction, it certainly has it's merits. But in general I abhor any kind of screen that is trying to sell grey for black, since it makes everything look washed out and lifeless! The lower resolution even in contrast to a much smaller device like the Vita, doesn't help either, though it is a minor factor.

midnafanboy

#18

midnafanboy said:

Damn i love the art style they went with for this game, looks so different to the original.

schizor

#20

schizor said:

It's no hate from my site. Just felt like pointing it out :-) I would probably be nervous too..

Genesaur

#22

Genesaur said:

Oh, man... I had thought it was a Castle Crashers-esque co-op hack-n'-slash. I'm sure the RTS elements are good and well implemented, but this one just moved a peg down my list.

Adam

#23

Adam said:

I thought when he said Demons were the second faction that he said Vegans. Missed opportunity, I suppose. They would certainly have a natural rivalry with the Vikings.

dumedum

#24

dumedum said:

@Ralek85 it's obviously the definitive version because: (a) it is the lead version and as far as we know, the only version, so they catered to the Wii U's abilities, and they had Wii U since before Wii U was released working on the game for al long time with Wii U's specs; (b) it uses the Game Pad - touch controls; (c) the Wii Remote as another option; (d) Miiverse probably.

Off tv play with PS4 is super laggy and basically unplayable.

The Game Pad screen is stunning IMO.

Ralek85

#25

Ralek85 said:

@dumedum
As for (a), it's either the lead or the only version. WiiWare was also the first version to be released, not really the defintive version though.
As for (b) that is not necessarily a good thing, also Vita
As for (c) PC got mouse and PS3/4 got Move
Not to sound condescending, but does anyone really care about (d) ^^

Remote-Play works fine, it depends solely on your network environment! The only issue I have with it, is that the Vita lacks the R2 and L2 button, the remapping only really works for some games.

I'm sorry, but what is IMO about it? It's a low-res LCD screen. It's black levels are terrible, contrast is limited and it got plenty of backlight leakage at the borders. It's not the fault of the gamepad, but of the technology used. I'd say it's reasonably good for gaming for the most part and way better than expected. It is not up to par though when contrasted with the Vita Screen or a modern Plasma TV. You can actually measure those difference, but you can also see them right away, if you are used to it. There is more than just a visible difference between the picture quality on the gamepad and on my Panasonic plasma, it's a completely different picture. On the plasma TV the colors pop right off the screen, everything looks alive and the whole picture has a spatial quality the rather flat gamepad image just can't reproduce.
That is really no question of personal opinion. If you take the gamepad screen on it's own merit, it might stun you, but then again, the same picture on a proper screen is bound to blow you away.
Maybe you are just used to playing on LCDs?, because I certainly have seen worse LCD screens than the one in the gamepad!

dumedum

#26

dumedum said:

@Ralek85 I have a great t v but I also find the game pad to be beautiful. Probably due to its size everything looks sharp and pretty to me.
The lag on the vita off tv is real. Check professional reviews like digital foundry. It sucks. Even without lag it is very inferior to the ease and simplicity of the game pad. Not even comparable. As for touch, game utilizes the accuracy of the stylus.
http://www.lazygamer.net/general-news/how-laggy-is-ps4vita-remote-play/
Move is just not as good its very annoying with the distracting light and rarely supported anyway.
Mouse is not as fun.
I love miiverse when used well like shovel knight.

Ralek85

#27

Ralek85 said:

@dumedum Of course there is lag, afterall you are streaming via W-Lan in two directions, but it's negligible, especially since the last time Sony patched it and I expect it to keep involving, considering Sony seems to put a lot of emphasis on it.
That article was quite right, just two things, it's outdated by now, and though I admit it's hardly a pro, games that do require quick reaction like shooters, are no good fit for the Vita anyways. BF4 e.g. is playable even with the lack of the shoulder buttons, lack of surround sound and the small screen as well as some lag, but barely though, it makes the whole experience way more 'challenging' if you will.
In that regard I would agree if there was anything like BF4 on the WiiU, the gamepad might be better suited to the task, since you got the full button layout and minimal latency.

I don't know what you dislike about the Move, since it's actually more accurate than the WiiMote, though I think it probably also introduces slighlty more lag due to the optical acquisition. i have no way of measuring and I certainly never noticed it. You are right about support though, still it's a mood point, because there is little in terms of great Pointer games on the WiiU also. Actually, having a bunch of great shooters on the WiiU with Wiimote support, would be a selling point for me, since I loved to play Killzone and Resistance with Move.

I can't comment on Mouse not being fun, I played with Mouse on PC long before I played with anything else. It's the most direct and precise way of going about shooting virtual stuff I'm aware of, and whenever I played real competitively, aka for pircemoney, I did so with Mouse + Keyboard. But I respect your opinion on this, since 'fun' in terms of controllers is certainly subjective.

I'm happy for you that you think the gamepad looks beautiful, I still think it's entirely dependent on your point of comparison. There is no denying that the gamepad features low resolution (854x480) and even low 158 ppi. The sense of sharpness might result from a good downsampling process from the higher native resolution, which is from my experience on PC always superior to any kind of AA.
In regards to 'pretty', what do you mean by that, why kind of TV are you using for comparison? The backlight leakage is a fact, check online, or just watch a dark image on the gamepad and watch the borders ... As for Brightness, Blacklevel, Contrast, Colors and Response time, which makes things look pretty or not, there is just no way a LCD could do a good job on this, not in comparison to Plasma or OLED. It's backlit nature will always mess with it's blacklevels for example and you don't need a luminance meter to tell on first sight, that you are looking at a LCD screen on the gamepad. It's really just the LCD technology that is not up to snuff, never has been, never will be, it's no means the fault of the Gamepad or Nintendo.
LCDs are cheap and easily mass-produced, and it's a natural choice in such a case, I just wish they made the Deluxe version 100$ more expensive with a OLED screen. I'd would have been more than willing to pay that, to have something close to consistent image quality across TV and Gamepad on my end.

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