The ragtag band of Vikings has once again invaded the Nintendo Switch with their classic gameplay of tactical tug of war in Swords & Soldiers 2: Shawarmageddon. Redbeard and his Vikings continue their everlasting quest for Shawarma, but are now joined by the Persians, and newly discovered demons from the underworld as they clash for the special genie lamp that’s recently become uncovered. Alliances will be forged, enemies fought, and golf courses destroyed as this quest unfolds!
For the uninitiated, Swords & Soldiers originally released a decade ago in 2009, bringing with it a great real-time strategy game set in 2D on the Nintendo Wii platform among others. Simple gameplay combined with stylized graphics created a benchmark title to play over and over again. Fast-forward a few years, and Swords & Soldiers 2 lands on the Nintendo Wii U with great success yet again. Polished and enhanced visuals, as well as a new campaign make it yet another staple for a Nintendo platform. A while after this release though, the fine folks at Ronimo Games pushed out a Kickstarter for PlayStation 4 and Steam releases, only to cancel it due to underwhelming results, but also facing a very strong and vocal userbase asking for it to be released on the new Nintendo Switch. Today that reality came true for them as we take a further look at Swords & Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon.
Blending real-time strategy, a splash of Tower Defense, and effectively a tug of war game in 2D sets the space for a unique gameplay experience. There are a lot of modes to be played too! There is a robust Campaign that will keep most gamers busy, but a ton of fun can be had via the game’s foundational split-screen matches against friends or AI. Additionally, there are several fun challenges to undertake with a global ranking system and you can even take on your opponents via online play.
Heading into the Campaign, you’ll immediately be presented with vibrant, highly stylized and comedic cartoon characters outlining the premise of the game. It doesn’t take long to get a sense of what’s happening even if you haven’t played the original Swords & Soldiers title. The story unfolds in such a way that you’ll be given opportunities to play with each of the game’s main factions, including the Viking band lead by Redbeard, the Persians and even the brutish demons. The game’s story is presented with cut-scenes and dialog during a fight, and I was a huge fan of how conflicts were broken up into either traditional battles or open-ended skirmishes, which allowed you to select your own soldiers, towers, heroes, and powers for the fight.
Each encounter consists of two sides warring to knock out the other’s contraption of a ship on opposite ends of the battlefield. You’ll be tasked with creating workers to mine gold and mana which are the primary economy for the game. Gold is most often used to hire fighters, heroes and build towers. Mana on the other hand is generally for casting spells that range from turning enemies into sheep, which can then be further zapped by a lighting spell making them food for your own crew, to casting a massive Viking ice hammer on the ground slowing down opponents temporarily. There’s a plethora of characters and spells to unlock over the course of the game, which in turn make it even more complex to win some of the open-ended battles in this mode. You’ll find yourself having to experiment on those missions a bit more as your mid to late game approaches.
While the Campaign is great fun and certainly polished, Swords & Soldiers shines its best in 2-player multiplayer. I immediately was delighted to find the game making great use of the Nintendo Switch in tabletop mode. You’ll be placing the screen in portrait mode sitting across from a friend instead of the traditional landscape orientation. However, this is done to ensure that each player has good visibility of a section of the battlefield while also keeping the UI command icons from obstructing the core gameplay. Unfortunately, this layout does hinder the ‘norm’ of playing next to someone with the kickstand out, and will likely pose some play session format problems, but if you’re able to sit across from your pal, then this will be a truly enjoyable experience. It’s certainly worth noting that support for Online multiplayer also exists, both with Quick Match and friend invite modes if you like hogging the screen to yourself.
Swords & Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon feels like it was always destined for the Nintendo Switch. Fans of the series will be welcomed with great Nintendo Switch support, and newcomers will find one of the best RTS-hybrid games on the system to date.
Swords And Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon Review
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
Swords & Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon, while not being an entirely new game, does come to the Nintendo Switch with trusted pedigree. Tailored for the platform, and utilizing its local co-op play means this game is countless hours of fun with friends. Solo players need not worry, as the Campaign, AI versus modes, and Online offer a highly compelling gameplay experience chalked full of strategy, great cartoon stylization, and humorous puns and writing around every corner.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.