Resource wars have always been fought over the control of natural resources. It’s either that or religion, I guess. Although, for the purposes of this review, we should steer clear of that particular hot potato.
There is no doubt that we have grown accustomed to seeing nations clash over oil but the humble tree is the one that ignites hostilities in First Wood War.
In this simplified version of real-time strategy game, which is based on a real-time battle system that uses trees to fight battles, it should be obvious that we are firmly in the realms of fantasy.
There is even more restriction to the arena of this resource war than it would be in a typical tower defense game.
As you can see from the photo, there are two bases facing each other with a couple of paths in between. There are several neutral structures along these paths that you can capture and use to your advantage if you capture them.
Using lumber mills to gather wood will enable you to build more warriors, which in turn will enable you to collect more wood.
If you want to launch an invasion into the enemy base, you can send your warriors out into the field, either to defend against enemy attacks or to launch an assault against the enemy’s base.
Additionally, there are a number of special structures that will boost the stats of your troops while they are under your command.
Your troops aren’t directly controlled – you simply create them, and they invade automatically. If you choose the path they run down, then that’s your lot, and you cannot decide which path they run down.
Although this restriction serves to keep things flowing, it is also frustrating because it makes you feel disengaged from the action.
In my opinion, it is particularly irritating when your troops opt to engage enemy woodsmen instead of running through a breached defensive tower in an attempt to regain control of the lumber mill, which is a difficult task to be accomplished.
As far as combat is concerned, your trebuchet is an element of your arsenal that you have direct control over.
With time, it will recharge over time and be able to be directed over significant distances in order to support an attack or bolster a defense.
Although this is frustrating as well, as shots take a long time to get to their target, this is also a frustrating experience.
If you are shooting at an enemy group, odds are that when the shot lands behind the group, the enemy group will have moved on.
Getting to the root of it
Powered by a slick 3D engine, First Wood War creates a rich, interesting world that’s just enough different from everything else on the market.
Unfortunately, the game has a lot of annoying snags, such as the trebuchet and direct control problems mentioned above.
You have major problems when you combine those with unresponsive controls and a challenge level system that turns gruelingly harsh too soon.
Due to the simplified strategy – which has also resulted in repetitive, grind-heavy gameplay – the developer believes this approach is more appropriate for touchscreen devices.
There is no point in moving on to the next level if you are just going to grind out units. If you have conceded a certain amount of ground, it can be nearly impossible – and not at all fun – to turn the tables around once you have given up a certain amount of ground.
As a result, First Wood War has all the characteristics of the wood at its core: it’s beautiful to look at and utterly satisfying to use, but it’s also heavy going and, well, wood at its core is not easy to handle.