Happy Wars: Feel free to play these XBLA battles

October 29, 2012

In a land far away, there are two kingdoms that need no excuse to fight; whether it is predicting the weather or expressing opinions about cooking, these two nations can’t agree on anything except fighting each other, because they are not very bright. Happy Wars is a brand new free-to-play XBLA title that aims to lure people with cartoony graphics and fun siege castle-on-castle multiplayer. Just because the game is free doesn’t mean it warrants your time, so is the game worth downloading?

Happy Wars is a take on multiplayer battlegrounds similar to World of Warcraft’s Alterac Battleground; you start from your castle and work your way to the enemy castle, building spawn points and destroying enemy stations using one of three character classes. The round is over once either castle is destroyed. Each of the three classes approaches the battleground differently, but all level and earn coins to spend later.

The warrior class uses swords to deal significant damage up close and personal, and has the ability to rally team players into devastating group attack. Mages deal damage from afar, and Clerics specialize in building support structures to win the war. As each class levels, they gain additional abilities to help dominate the matches. For a free-to-play game this does a lot of things right; with its simple-to-pick-up yet difficult-to-master techniques, the game does everything to welcome players to the battleground fray.

Leveling and winning matches is the key to the game. As you win matches you get access to better weapons and armor, and with the more battles you win, you earn coins to upgrade your equipment and buy new gear. Gamers who like to collect loot will appreciate this game, as there is plenty to gather as you level. Customization is a big part as well; tapping into the microtransaction arena, you may use Microsoft Points to buy every manner of skin packs to customize your avatar.

The game features an in-depth tutorial that gives you plenty of pointers on carrying out tactics with different classes. Rarely do games take the opportunity to teach players as Happy Wars does, so it was a welcome addition to try and learn some of the finer points of each class. Story mode works in tandem with multiplayer as you need to earn enough levels in multiplayer to progress through the end of the story.

Happy Wars follows a simple formula and it does it well, focusing on the battlegrounds while offering players choices in customization and weapon-armor combinations. This formula may grow old after a while, but there really is no reason not to give it a try.

Pros: Fun team combat, acceptable microtransactions
Cons: Limited replay value

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.