Overall Score 81%
Garden dwarves are cool, are they not? They just ooze charisma and you can guarantee that should your garden come under attack by oversized weeds, they'll hold up their fists and put up a fight to the death to protect your precious pot plants! No, I haven't gone crazy, I've just been playing Garden War for a little too long.
Just in case you were in any doubt, Garden War places you in control of a squad (yes, a squad!) of garden dwarves who must outwit the evil computer-controlled garden weeds to protect gardens all over the world. Play is turn-based, with each player manouvering their squads around the garden, ready to attack the enemy.
You have several types of dwarf to control including standard infantry, tanks and amphibian dwarfes. Each type can only be moved a set number of places, and each has different firepower. These types can easily be recognised thanks to the great graphics on show throughout the game. Your tank for example is a dwarf in a car. The weeds are also easily recognisable and well-drawn, with the amphibian weed sporting a rather fetching rubber ring.
Despite having a wide range of levels, the game is mostly the same throughout, with the player vs computer scenario simply played out in different gardens and with different obstacles. All gameplay is controlled by the mouse, with helpful hints displayed when you rollover both your own dwarves and the enemy weeds.
Garden War is visually very distinctive with a great cartoon feel to the gardens and characters. This seems at odds a little with some of the other presentation in the menus, but doesn't really detract. Feelgood factor is delivered thanks to the jolly music and the sound effects, especially for the characters, are spot on.
Adding to the existing levels on offer is a level editor which allows you to use any of the game sprites to create and save your own gardens to battle in. Should you complete the game, the level editor is a nice feature for extending the lifespan of the game.
It's really easy to like Garden War but it won't be for everyone. The pace is a little slow, and it is more akin to a puzzle game than a proper strategy game. That said, if you enjoy the demo, you'll certainly enjoy the full download.
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