Sep 14, 2010

Silo MAD

When I think of the RTS genre, my mind gravitates more towards a StarCraft experience where I control on screen units, have to collect resources, build new buildings, and then use these buildings and resources to construct new units for my conquest. Silo MAD is an RTS, but it differs from this tried and true formula. So the question becomes "good different or bad different?".

When you first load Silo MAD you'll be greeted by a menu that includes the usual campaign and skirmish (aka quick play) modes along with a tutorial. The tutorial is very well done and teaches you the game quite nicely. The game is played on two screens. The first plays like a Missile Command arcade game where you can tap to fire missiles (and you pay for each one) or watch your automated defense structures fire away. The other screen shows the battlefield which is broken into squares. You'll begin with a factory and some base production and can send transports to overtake other territories. Transports can be shot down, but if they are not then they either convert an enemy territory to a neutral territory or a neutral one to yours. Some territories have things like mines (they look like mountains) on them that will increase your production. Other territories are vacant allowing you to build on them.

This game can be played as a campaign or you can play individual skirmishes. The game offers five skill levels and three map sizes. After playing a game or two you start to understand that the ebb and flow of the game is similar to other RTS games where first you build an infrastructure to boost production then you fight the war. Balancing these two activities becomes the challenge. The graphics are good and the game offers quality audio. The controls work great and that's one thing I really appreciated about this game. Trying to play RTS games modeled after their PC counterpart often becomes a cramped experience. Plasmaworks identified that issue and rectified it with this game. They have produced a quality RTS that is very suited for a small, mobile screen. About the only issue I had were the teeny, tiny 'OK' buttons in the tutorial.

qrcodeConclusion? 'Good different' all the way. The tutorial is well executed. The game isn't terribly complicated... I think there are only about 5 or 6 different structures to build/operate in the whole game. It's a challenge toggling back and forth between the arcadey defense screen and the overall map as you lay the groundwork for an assault. The game offers a good fell of building a war machine and winning a battle feels like an accomplishment. FInally, the five skill levels and different map sizes make this a game with some good, solid replayability well beyond the included campaign mode. 5/5 stars for a RTS game that I almost missed in a crowded Market.

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