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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

[Review] Creeper World 3

Genre: RTS

So first, a little about the Creeper World franchise and who developed it. 

Creeper World Website 

KnuckleCracker is the developer of the Creeper World franchise and they have done a fantastic job with these games. In my opinion, 1 is better than 2 and 3 is better than 2 also (CW1>CW2<CW3). The only reason for that is the perspective on CW2. It was uh... it was fairly not thought out. Definitely REALLY hard in the later levels, like, unneedlessly hard. 

It's not even worth mentioning the system specs to run this game because it's really really low. Like, unless you overbuild by a bajillion units (by that time you've already got the Creeper contained and everything, you'd be so bored) your computer won't lag at all. I mean, I'm pretty sure this would be able to run on a Win98 machine. Even 95.

So, KnuckleCracker is a fairly recent dev company, with only the CW games having been made, they aren't a huge name in the game world, but Creeper World has definitely made an impact. Rock, Paper, Shotgun and IGN have reviewed CW as well as other various gaming websites. CW1 was designed by Virgil Wall, who started the Creeper World franchise. As CW has grown, so has his team. CW2 was designed by Virgil Wall of course, along with some other team members, and CW3 has a slightly bigger team also.  

The gameplay of Creeper World is simple. Click the unit you want to place, and click where you want to place it. Sort of like a tower defense game but more RTS like in the fact that you can place units anywhere you want on the map, besides on top of the Creeper of course. (Well, you could do that, but that's somewhat advanced gameplay) Here's a video to show you:

This is essentially all you're going to see, all the time. A sea of blue and your trusty mortars and blasters defending your 1, 2, or 3 bases you may have set up. It's a very intuitive set up that Virgil has made for himself in CW3 and in CW1 too. There are major differences from CW1 and CW3, and that's the fact that:

There are new units
The interface is smoother
A connecting storyline to CW2 (I think all the storylines should have been connected, but whatever)
Overall smoother gameplay in CW3

I mean overall, the game is a much better game then CW1, but every now and again I go back and play just for nostalgia's sake.

The game consists of your Command Center. This is the big blue building (well, 3 big blue buildings) in the video that send out those little orb-looking things called 'packets'. Packets are the lifeblood of your system. They are literally your blood, and the connectors are your veins, between the Collectors (the little round green things). You can see the packets running through Collectors and to your weapons which are holding back the Creeper. Here's a small guide to packets, more or less:

Red Packets: Ammo for your weapons
Green Packets: Power for Totems (explained later)
Grey Packets: Building Packets. These Packets go into building your turrets, mortars, Collectors, Reactors, everything. They are what gets things built.
Aether Packets: These Packets don't travel through the connections in your network, they are actually dispersed into the air and go directly into your Forge.

Also, after your weapons are built, your Command Center(s) immediately sends out Ammo packets to your weapons after they're built. This way you can immediate begin hitting the Creeper as it's coming up to you. 

Now, in the video you do see 3 Command Centers. However, they don't split the loads evenly even if they're all connected together, which is something I hate. I take it this would have been harder to code for KnuckleCracker or Virgil himself, which is fine, but I really think it'd be more efficient if the Energy load was spread out between Command Centers. 

Also, about the Totems: The Totems are the things you see in the Creeper, those green, flower-looking things. They give you Aether to power your Forge for upgrades. Usually you can nab one in the beginning of the level, and in some of the other levels in the game outside of the campaign, there are little to no Totems, or there's an average amount of Totems. If you get one in the beginning of the level and keep hold of it with the advancing Creeper in the beginning, you're pretty much set for the game, it's just a waiting game to get enough Aether to have decent upgrades.

Another new feature I'd like to point out is the Forge. You get the Forge during one of the campaign missions and it is buildable in your base from the Titans tab in your menu. The Forge is pretty much your best weapon against the Creeper, as it upgrades your weapons to have a higher fire rate and range, and move speed, among other fairly important things.

I'm not going to delve into every single little new thing Creeper World 3 has exactly, but there are some new units and old units, I'll just say that.

Sublevel of Gameplay: Interface (UI):
The UI for Creeper World in general has always been a well-thought out, great interface. It's not intrusive, it's smooth, you click a button and you get the unit that you want to place or the menu you want to open up. This is the same for Creeper World 3, and quite possibly even better, since the interface looks quite better than Creeper World 1.

I'm not going to post screenshots a lot here because it's really all in the video. However you'll have screenshots if I need to point something out or something like that. In the video you can blatantly see the UI is very good.

Sublevel of Gameplay: Controls:
The mouse and your keyboard (if the hotkeys work for you, they didn't for me) are your best friends against the Creeper menace! That's all I really have to say about the controls, to be honest here, nothing spectacular.

Sublevel of Gameplay: AI Difficulty:
I'll be the first to tell you... well, here, let's start with a statement, in that you can't fight the ocean. You can shore up against it, you can contain it, you can zap it with lasers and deteriorate some of it, but you most likely will never completely eliminate it. This is what it's like, fighting the Creeper. The Creeper is pretty much the ocean, if the ocean destroyed everything it touched, anyway. It may be an un-apt analogy, but you get it. The Creeper is definitely something to gear if you hop right in and don't know how to play.

There is no AI difficulty in this game, only perhaps the intervals at which Creeper spawns from it's nodes differ. The faster it spawns, the harder it is to hold it back. Initially, anyway. The Creeper eventually evens out against your lasers and mortars and anti-Creeper weapons, at which point you can focus on building up your energy resources and making sure you have enough energy to support the packets being sent out from your Command Center. 

All in all, skipping over some needless points here, CW3 is definitely a game to support Knucklecracker on. Also you can play some more of CW3 for free at Kongregate.

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