The first thing that greets you when you boot up NextWar –The Quest for Earth is the swelling crescendo of music that immediately has a sense of importance and adventure about it. Then you hear laser & cannon fire and you see a top down view of a battlefield with a frenzy of moving objects that almost at once seems to overwhelm the senses. Having fun yet?
NextWar is a strategy game by Adrian “Sc4Freak” Tsai and he has left you with the responsibility of saving Humanity and taking back its intergalactic colonies. An alien race has launched a sudden and surprise invasion upon human colonies spread throughout the galaxy and all but Rigel 7 and Capella on the outer fringes of the Milky Way have been spared. Earth and its colonies have fallen to the Promethians and it’s up to you to take it back.
The game itself takes place on a square board with a Headquarters and what look like different paths to the Headquarters. You are charged with protecting the HQ and repelling the invading alien force with various armaments at your disposal. Along these paths are walls where you can build towers and how you place these towers is vital to your success. The Game is relatively simple and easy to learn and increasingly hard to beat.
The invading alien forces come in waves, and you have one minute intervals to prepare for their invasion by placing defensive perimeters around their paths towards HQ. You have at your disposal an EMP tower, which slows down the aliens within an area. Prism towers, which is like a laser tower except that if you put some in close proximity, can have the collective strength of five towers in one shot. You also have a Rail tower which shoots cannon like projectiles, and finally your trusty laser tower, which, covering a distance of two squares (paths are never more than 2 squares across) and relatively cheap, is a very reliable deterrent.
This game is a real-time strategy game so you can build on the fly at any time anywhere in the game. At the same time, you can upgrade some of your towers to give them that extra bang with a longer reach to help you wear down the enemy. Everything costs however, but for every kill you get money to finance your defense system.
The invading waves are deceivingly easy at first, and if you’re not careful, can just as easily overwhelm your defenses and destroy you. With each attack, they get increasingly resilient to your attacks and can withstand some incredible punishment. If, in the likely event, one or two aliens slip through your defenses, your HQ is able to recover 10% of its health but this is not cheap.
The music and sounds by Justin Durban suits the game well, one for its sense of adventure and urgency, and the other for the ongoing battle that unfolds every minute. Cannon and Laser fire really add to the chaotic environment that has the enemy scrambling to destroy you, and you defending your HQ.
The only downside of the game is that it can be misleading at first for how easy it is to kill the enemy, because it does get incredibly difficult further along. Another personal gripe is that you know when what kind of enemy is coming next, but it doesn’t tell you how many waves you survived and how many more you have to endure.
Nextwar – The quest for Earth is an interesting title that is worth a trial run but a must buy for strategy junkies. Particularly if you had ever wanted to play a game of chess with lasers, then this is the closest you’ll get. It has a simple control scheme with simplified graphics (think Geometry Wars; even simpler) with a complex and difficult challenge.
You can queue the trial to your console by clicking here, but the great news is that with the new indie pricing structure, this game has just dropped in price to only 80 MS Points!
Final Score: 8 out of 10 (How do we rate games?)