Greed Corp, the first game from W! Games set in their Mistbound universe, is a turn based strategy game with a unique dynamic. Most strategy games usually involve an element of base-building, and resource harvesting, to finance the construction of military units to crush the enemy. In Greed Corp, the game's map is a series of atoll-like hexes jutting into the sky, and the very act of base-building or resource harvesting causes the very earth to eventually collapse from under the player. Consequently, a round of Greed Corp becomes a very tense race to defeat the enemy with only the minimal amount of resources and units required before there is actually no home territory to defend. Each player's turn is timed, too - a clock in the corner of the screen counts down a limited number of seconds; decisions must be made quickly and military moves cannot be pondered long. After all, the world's crumbling.
The game mechanics are fairly basis to most strategy game players - each player starts with a home territory comprised of a few hexes on the map, and the object is to defeat the enemy by destroying all of his units or by destroying the territory he inhabits. The typical strategy-game conventions are adhered to - Harvesters, buildings which draw resources from the land, can be constructed on hexes, and these resources in turn can be spent on armories to construct units, weapons, vehicles, upgrades, and such forth. When units advance on uncontested hexes on the map, they are claimed by that player. Hexes, however, can be destroyed by an attacking player, and the very act of harvesting resources causes the hex to slowly crumble and collapse - along with neighbouring hexes. There's no 'base building' in Greed Corp - the player must pillage the landscape, build his force and strike quickly in order to win. Games are short, brisk, and tense.
The graphics and presentation of the game are strong and the game has a flavor I really like. If Settlers of Catan broke down into a 19th century steampunk brawl and the map was actually sinking into the sea, that would be pretty close to the tone of Greed Corp. The three-dimensional rendering of the hexes is very pretty and the game definitely caters to the high-def gamer - some of the text and details in the interface were a little hard for me to make out on my older CRT television. The overall presentation of the game's visuals is slick and clean, like a good episode of animation - simple, yet eye-pleasing. The 1920's-style soundtrack is funny and fun and really suits the quick pace of the matches and sets the tone of the game. Sound effects are somewhat minimal, so the music is used to fill the space.
The game hasn't caught on yet with the Live community - both of the nights that I logged into Live to get a multiplayer match in with someone else, there were no matches to be had. That's okay, though, since there's a single player campaign that presents at least a dozen missions of escalating complexity and length, and W! Games's website promises a full 24 missions in the single player campaign, so there's more to be unlocked and revealed in the course of the game. The in-game achievements are tricky and cater to the gamer who relishes a challenge - after two nights of play I only unlocked one achievement for taking out multiple opponents in a chain reaction attack.
In all, Greed Corp is very different from typical strategy but a lot of fun - it feels like a really good tabletop board game and is easy to play, and is well put together. I hope it catches on with the Live community, because I really want to play it with someone else who appreciates this unique game. Download Greed Corp from Xbox Live Arcade, and see for yourself.