Happy Wars is an Xbox Live Arcade game based strongly in multiplayer. There is a smaller single player experience but you can’t play all of it without going through co-op and multiplayer first, not to mention ranking up can only happen in multiplayer which is needed to survive single player.
What at first appears wonderful about Happy Wars, ends up being it’s biggest down fall. Happy Wars is completely free to download, and you can honestly go through the game without actually being forced to pay for anything. But like most freemium games there is a huge down fall. The biggest I believe being the insane amount of lag that comes with this game. I am assuming without charging a flat fee it makes it difficult for the creators to pay to keep the servers running the way they should. That or they simply don’t care. In every single game that I’ve played there have been serious issues with lag. Considering each game is roughly 20 players it’s not completely surprising, but it does beg the question of, “why didn’t they work out their server issues before releasing the game?”
The other big hitch is more directly related to this being a freemium game, and that’s the type of players you are going to get matched with. Some players have clearly shelled out the money for the special perks and equipment. This gives them a CLEAR advantage on the field and it’s one that it’s really hard to compensate for. However it’s not a total deal breaker. Most multiplayer games now have a rank up system which gives certain players an advantage. The main difference is this time people can pay for those advantages, so it’s hard to tell just by level. Another way the game helps is that everyone can earn the “money” used to buy upgrades and such so it’s not impossible to make yourself equal to others, maybe just a bit slower.
However the really sad thing with the complaints is that underneath it all is a really decent game. It’s an interesting and fairly fun gameplay it just suffers under most of the flaws of all freemium games. Nothing is executed perfectly, and nothing feels completely finished and solid. So why was it even freemium? Wouldn’t a solid game going for 1200 on live with a few dlc things make just as much money as a totally free game with hundreds of add-ons? The argument will always be made that no, in fact freemium games will make more over time. On the reverse of that with all the flaws that it suffers the amount of people that may never pay a dime for it must be staggering.
If you are looking for something fun and quick to play I’d say pick up Happy Wars. It’s an easy game to play for an hour every once in awhile and then move on from. Not something most people will enjoy enough to go through quickly and in a few runs, but still a good in-between game. I have a hard time recommending anything that’s freemium though, I feel they are a big f you to gamers and will be the death of gaming. If you can get beyond that I would say download but never actually pay for anything. You can still get a lot of enjoyment out of it. 3 out of 5.