Name : Happy Wars
Developer : Toylogic
Publisher : Microsoft Studios
Platform(s) : Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Genre : Action
Release Date : October 12, 2012
Price : Free for Xbox Live Gold Members
Homepage : playxbla.com/ee/happy-wars
Read more about Happy Wars
Boxart

Happy Wars, the first free-to-play XBLA title for Xbox Live Gold members, was released on the Xbox today. Check out what we think of it.

Happy Wars is primarily an online multiplayer game for up to 30 players to take to the battlefield. The two teams have castles which must be defended against the opposing team. The castles are quite far apart from each other so spawn points can be fought over and captured at regular intervals and used to cut down on travel time. Once a castle has been captured, by destroying the tower inside the castle, the team are declared the winners.

Battles take place over six themed maps, from outdoors green pastures, lava filled underground caverns and snowy wastes. There is even an underwater map, though the characters are not affected by the water in any way. The maps come in a few sizes, my favourite was the underwater map as it is small and pure mayhem with just one spawn point to fight over. There looks to be an additional four maps which are hidden, my guess is they will be unlocked at a later date.

There are three classes to choose from; Warrior, Cleric and Mage. The Warrior is the first line of attack and can use skills such as spin attacks perfect for groups of enemies, the rocketman attack sees the player take off and crash into enemies. The Cleric is a support character with healing and resurrection skills, essential on the battlefield. They can also summon structures such as ladders to scale the castle walls or weapons to keep the enemy at bay. The Mage is the third line of attack with long-range attacks such as fireballs and wind attacks, they can also buff up allies with extra attack and defence bonuses. Each class also have access to team skills, additional players can join a formation to create a combined powerful attack such as a tornado, fire a volley of arrows or rush attack the enemy.

The difference between the classes are noticeable, for example Mages are very weak so it is wise to stay at the back and use the long-range attacks and buff your team as they pass by. It also helps to have a balanced team, there is little point in everyone being a warrior as the opposing team will simply build deadly defence weapons and use mages to keep the enemy far away. The balance in classes seems about right, the only issue myself and friends noticed was that higher level players are almost immortal due to better equipment. We expect this to be fairer once the game is released and there are more players around the same level to matchmake with.

Your characters can be equipped with items won from playing the game or purchased in the store. Weapons, armour, helmets, shields and accessories can be equipped and offer improved stats in their respective areas. Items are levelled up by merging them with older equipment and item buffs such as faster respawn times are added in a similar way. These do cost and are paid with either Happy Stars, earned at the end of each game, or with Happy Tickets which can be purchased with Microsoft Points.

Everything does come at a cost and while Happy Wars can be played for free, spending a few hundred Microsoft Points will reward you with higher valued items than what you would gain by playing the game. 8 Happy Tickets cost 80 :MSPoints:, 50 cost 400 :MSPoints: and 170 cost 1200 :MSPoints:. To give an example of what you can purchase in the store, a warrior equipment set consisting of a weapon, shield, armour and helmet costs 20 Happy Tickets (currently 16 as a day one promotion). The equipment is very good compared to what you would get normally, so if you are serious about the game I would recommend dropping 400 Microsoft Points to get a nice head start.

I spent the past few days playing the game with friends and we all enjoyed immensely, it even got a few of them off the Medal of Honor: Warfighter beta which is saying something! The battles are hectic and pure fun, 30 players does that! The game is free and is a must play, spend some Microsoft Points to get the upper hand and also support the game.

UPDATE: The matchmaking seems to be very broken and will result in spending a lot of time in the lobby trying to join a game. The issue was not apparent in the beta and early release and our review was based on that.

Rating
Description
9.0Gameplay
Hectic but pure fun with 30 players battling it out. The difference in classes is balanced which makes the game fairly tactical.
8.0Graphics
Nice use of cartoons style graphics. It can get a little confusing in battles and make it hard to identify the enemy.
7.0Sound
I did not take much notice of the music so it is probably forgettable but does the job.
9.0Final Score