Reviewed: April 26, 2010
Released: February 24, 2010
W!Games’ Greed Corp. is a turn-based strategy game with a familiar premise: eliminate the competition before you are wiped out yourself. This simple goal, however, is presented with a bit of a twist. Resource harvesting in the ravaged world of Greed Corp. literally and steadily destroys the land before the players’ eyes, introducing a certain sense of urgency as players strive to defeat each other before even the ground beneath their feet collapses into dust.
While Greed Corp.’s game mechanics are simple, they are more than enough to provide an entertaining challenge. Each of the single player campaign’s 24 maps is made up of hexagonal tiles of various heights. The heights of the tiles are more than cosmetic in this game, as taller tiles are more resistant to collapse. On any given map – out of a total of 36 unlockable maps – the player may be faced with competition from 1-3 other computer- or human-controlled factions, each of which the player must eliminate to complete the level.
As a result of relatively small maps and very finite resources, battles are short and tense, often lasting around 20 minutes rather than hours. Even though the game is turn-based, the turns are timed, and each second out of the 60 per turn is a precious commodity. While I would have appreciated the option to turn off the timer, especially in noncompetitive multiplayer play, the constant countdown does add an element of pressure that increases the difficulty of an otherwise uncomplicated game.
During a turn, the active player can build structures, claim territory, or attack enemies. Harvesters built generate credits but also consume the land around them by one level each turn. Armories can produce offensive units such as Walkers, a basic land-based unit; Cannons and Ammo, which can be used to damage enemy land tiles by one level per blast within a certain distance; and Carriers, which can transport Walkers across gaps between land tiles. Because of their capability for eating land, Harvesters can also be used offensively when placed by enemy territory and can be self-destructed to deal instant damage – not to mention that destroying a cracked land tile will set off a chain reaction that destroys the other cracked tiles touching it.
It’s additionally worth noting that the differences among the four factions are only skin-deep. Beyond the charming aesthetics distinguishing one player from another, the factions are identical to each other. Perhaps for that reason in combination with the game’s minimalist approach to fun, Greed Corp. plays more like a board game than many other strategy videogames and may or may not appeal to a typical strategy gamer.
Fortunately, however, because the gameplay is so straightforward, the Xbox controls are painless to learn and soon become second nature. Although the 212MB game download doesn’t come with an instruction manual, a tutorial level is included with the single player campaign to facilitate the learning process. Its instructions are perhaps not as helpful or easy to understand as they could be, but I found that firsthand experience with the first few missions quickly ironed out any initial confusion.
Greed Corp.’s graphics and music are, like the rest of the game, simple and attractive. The endearingly robotic Walker units and structures generally stick to a cartoonish steampunk look, and the background tracks have the cheerful, old-fashioned flavor of the Roaring 20s. The whimsical look and sound are exemplified in the brief opening movie and Greed Corp. trailer, both of which are beautifully rendered and animated. It struck me that if Pixar were to make a turn-based strategy game, it might turn out a little like this.
At 800 Xbox LIVE points (roughly $10), Greed Corp. is readily affordable for most people and provides solo, noncompetitive multiplayer, and competitive multiplayer (leaderboard) modes. Gamers who typically enjoy strategy games might also want to note, however, that this game feels more like chess than the typical RTS title; you won’t find much similarity between Greed Corp. and games like Starcraft. I also noticed a smattering of grammatical errors in the in-game text, but I suppose those can be forgiven in an indie game made in the Netherlands. Besides those minor details, though, Greed Corp. is a entertaining game that’s fun to play with friends in the same room, as well as online or solo.
For a game with simple mechanics set in an apocalyptic world dominated by hyper-capitalistic avarice, Greed Corp. is surprisingly fun and lighthearted. The short matches, easy-to-learn interface, and approachable price point make this game ideal for a more casual player, though more serious gamers who don’t mind clean simplicity in a game may also enjoy it thoroughly.