In the wake of upcoming turn based artillery giant Worms: Revolution, the sheer vacancy of this genre becomes ever more apparent. The genre is populated almost exclusively by Worms, but there are a few other games which have made a name for themselves over the years. One such competitor which has maintained popularity throughout its existence is Gunbound. This free to play online artillery game just had its 7th anniversary since its inception in Korea back in 2005. Developer Softnyx’s approach to the genre includes an extensive item-based stat customization engine as well as several different “mobiles”, each with different elements and stats. At the heart of the game is aiming and shooting, but there’s something strangely deep about it too.
When you boot up a game of Gunbound today in 2012, you’ll note not much has changed in the UI over the last several years. The game has never had a graphical update (that we can tell), you still can’t change the resolution, and there’s still not enough information on each mobile in the mobile selection screen. That said, the amount of content has at least doubled in every respect including mobiles, items, maps, and game modes. While estranged from its early adopters by a lack of true game experience upgrades, if Softnyx were to join Nexon (developers of Dungeon Fighter Live) on Xbox Live Arcade and beef up the presentation of Gunbound, this mobile blastin’ multiplayer game could be just as addictive as it was on PC.
Since its creation in 1995, Worms has been leading the way in the artillery shooter genre. With its slapstick humor, turn based strategy and tried-and-true formula, Worms became a brand with a massive following and history. Team 17, the developers of Worms, has remained small throughout however. The studio’s other franchise Alien Breed and a few Worms spin-offs (like Worms Blast and Worms Golf) are Team 17’s only true ventures outside the turn-based artillery action gameplay featured in Worms. Due to this, they’ve been called risk averse, they’ve been criticized for clinging to the Worms franchise, so of course their upcoming Worms revamp, Worms: Revolution, may be met with cynicism by some. We talked to lead designer on the upcoming game and 14-year member of Team 17 Kevin Carthew about working with the rest of Team 17 to revamp the Worms franchise.
According to Carthew, most of the group at Team 17 felt like a Worms revamp was long overdue before Worms: Revolution had a single line of code. Roughly two years ago, before true development on Worms: Revolution had begun, a presentation was given by key members of Team 17; it was a studio-wide event. Words were said, pictures were shown, heads were nodded — Worms: Revolution would be the “blockbuster” Worms game. “We aren’t just making another Worms game, we’re making the Worms game.” said Carthew. “Of course we’re going to call it Worms something”, but “revolution” really is the point of this new game, and everybody at Team 17 feels it.
Few things are more impenetrable than the mighty castle. Around the 10th century or so, major countries defended their population from sieges with these massive stone structures. Typically castles were constructed several miles apart in strategically superior locations. In CastleStorm, they’re right next door to each other.
Perhaps the real estate was good at the time or maybe the world of CastleStorm is just ridiculously crowded but things get cozy in this 2D tower defense. Your castle has a massive ballista on the front of it, which you use to mow down waves of ground forces and lay siege to the enemy castle. If the one-size-fits-all weapon weren’t enough, you can also dispatch your own forces and use magical abilities to affect the battlefield. Destroy the enemy castle or capture their flag to secure victory.
Real time strategy and the second dimension have blended before with games like Grim Grimoire and Swords & Soldiers, but it’s not the most common of sub-genres. That said, CastleStorm blends the RTS with even smaller genres including artillery shooters (Worms) and tower defense. The resulting smoothie is not only delicious, it offers a unique flavor.