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Greed Corp.
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: W!Games
Developer: W!Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4; 2 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:
There's a pretty clear pro-environmental message tucked into Greed Corp.'s gameplay. The idea of factions going to war over limited resources isn't new, but few games go beyond using the concept to set up a conflict between two groups. Greed Corp. takes a different approach; the concept is still used to set up conflict between its four factions, but it also leverages the "destroying the planet" concept into its core play mechanic.

With Greed Corp., it's a matter of less being more. At first glance, the game doesn't look or really sound like much. This is, I'm guessing, by design. You have something to look at and listen to, but it's really just there for decoration. It manages to hit the sweet spot of being good enough to grab and hold your attention, but without becoming too distracting.

Levels resemble a board game more than a level in a strategy game, but the presentation is incredibly effective at communicating the game's core mechanics. Hexes feature small details like trees and snow covered mountains, but those are really just decoration. The real crux of the game is the strategy. Visuals look great, but are really just a way to know what's going on.

The goal is to be the last guy standing by mining the most resources and by pure military dominance. Each turn you can set up a harvester on a hex, earning you money. Money is used to purchase new harvesters or military units. The catch is, every time you harvest, the hex drops a little until it is depleted, sending it crashing down into the abyss below. This creates an element of survival atop the goal of conquest. As hexes collapse, the play field gets smaller, reducing the number of places to send walkers, forcing you to rely on cannons. But ammo is pricey, as are carriers to ferry troops around. The constantly changing battlefield forces you to think ahead; otherwise you may destroy valuable resources or even send a battalion of troops down with a hex.

Greed Corp. is best when played against human opponents. Up to four players can take part in online games, but I'd recommend spending time in the single-player campaign before attempting to go head-to-head with human opponents.

Greed Corp. is a nightmare for players who don't plan ahead. There's no way to bully your way through matches, nor can you win by micromanaging every unit on the field. Success is all about numbers and how you manage them. Luck is not a factor. The idea is pretty straightforward - mine the most resources and place more troops than your opponent on a hex to capture it. Just knowing the basics isn't enough. The tutorial is clear on what to do, though figuring out strategies is your job. Expect to be on the losing end often, at least when you first start.

Greed Corp. is 100% strategy and 0% luck, which is a bit discerning after you lose your fourth or fifth match in a row. Failure is usually your fault. The only major downside is the inability to keep track of everything quickly. You aren't given much time per turn, so assessing what's on the battlefield then moving troops is harrowing. Over time, you'll develop coping strategies, though the first few plays will be nightmares.

Game Mechanics:
The balance between surviving and making money is where Greed Corp. really shines. If you drop too many harvesters, you'll earn lots of cash, but run the risk of trapping your armies in small areas or even accidently killing them when a hex collapses. Drop too few and your military will suffer and you won't be able to capture enemy territory. It's a tricky balance, which makes games both frustrating and engaging at the same time.

The great thing about relying on a purely strategic mechanic is every game is completely different. Even if you're on your fifth match replay, it will feel like a completely different game. Even when facing A.I. opponents, there's no way to really guide the flow of gameplay into a defined spaced. It's really easy to back yourself into a corner, but you'll eventually figure out sneaky tactics to help give you an edge. For instance, you can use harvesters to weaken tiles next to your opponent's territory. If played right, you can turn a passive move into an incredibly effective and aggressive combat tactic.

Greed Corp. is a complex game that isn't immediately understood. If patience isn't your thing, Greed Corp. won't do much to win your favor. Greed Corp. is for players who love figuring out strategies and don't mind getting pushed in the mud a few times while figuring things out.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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