Review: Artillery: Knights vs. Orcs (DSiWare)

A misfire

Most of us have played one of them before: one of those free online Flash games where your goal is to hit something by firing a projectile, after deciding what angle and what speed the object should be thrown or shot at. Of course, you'll also be familiar with this concept if you've played any Worms game.

Artillery: Knights vs. Orcs takes this concept and turns it into a small-scale, two player affair. It really couldn't get any simpler: pick the side of either the knights of the orcs mentioned in the title, after which you go to one of several stages to duke it out.

Functionally, there's no different between the two sides, so neither has a clear advantage over the other. Once you're in the 2D playing field of your choice — well, the choice part comes later, you've got to unlock every stage by beating the previous ones first, with 100 per side — you've really only got one goal: destroy your opponent. Thankfully you're carrying a portable cannon with you, which is more than up to the task at hand.

When the game begins, your amount of options is initially quite limited. All you can do is walk left or right a set distance, and fire your cannon. Once you decide to fire the cannon you'll have to decide at what angle and speed you wish to fire, which is basically trial and error: some of the maps are huge and it's incredibly hard to judge the distance to your opponent with the DSi's small screen only displaying so little of the map at once.

Once you've fired your shot, it's the opponent's turn, after which it goes back and forth until either one of you loses all their life. Later missions throw a few more things your way, like abilities with limited uses (such as an umbrella to slow falls) and a few additional units, some of which man catapults and the like, but it all stays decidedly slow and relatively boring, even more so because you'll have more moves to go through and more enemies to kill.

Further likening the game to Worms is the fact that shots will affect the environment: there are trees and such that can protect you from shots (though they will disappear in one hit from any shot), and hitting the ground or a wall creates a crater in it, allowing you to create tunnels or pits, if you so wish.

The game offers a total of 200 stages, but there's really barely any difference between them. Once you've beaten the first ten or so you'll probably have had enough of it all and will never want to look at the game again, but as this is a game with two teams and all, naturally, there is also a two player mode, if you can convince someone to play with you. Unfortunately, there's no real changes here, so you still take long, slow turns taking potshots at each other until one of you dies.


Artillery: Knights vs. Orcs is basically like a very limited, very small-scale version of Worms. Unfortunately, two of the main draws of Worms are its huge arsenal of weapons and the fact you've got several worms in different places of each map. In Artillery, you've only got one form of attack, and each of your units (if you've got more than one) is clumped together in one spot. It never feels hectic or fun and just kind of plods along at a snail's pace until you get bored of it, which shouldn't really take long. It's also priced at 500 Points, which some might find a bit hard to swallow for such an underwhelming game.

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