Warlords: Another return for the arcade classic

October 26, 2012

The 1980 classic arcade game Warlords has been updated several times over the years. Released initially in cabinet and table arcade formats, this game is designed to be played by up to four people. You play as a warlord who must successfully defend their castle from dragon fireballs, enemy Snoots and the random Black Knight attack. Luckily, you have your own Snoots who repair walls, capture bonus nodes and attack other castles as you command.

Like a mix between Pong and Breakout, Warlords is about controlling a shield with the left stick to reflect incoming fireballs, sometimes grabbing them for a charge directed attack. With the right stick you can control your Snoot Bannerman, who leads an infinite supply of Snoots on objectives you need done. Lead them to bonus nodes for extra shield width, or shield reverses to help yourself or mess with your enemies. All of the Snoot commands are also mapped to the directional pad as a more efficient but less specific action to your army.

Where the game shines is the fast-paced nature of the rounds. Each game begins with one fireball to reflect, and then adds more until a castle finally falls. You can choose different levels of fireballs to add, but as five fireballs are roaming the area, you are forced to be on your toes frantically. Add to that the controlling of your army, and you have a simple game to pick up but a hard game to master.

Strategy plays a large role in winning rounds. Besides constantly deflecting incoming fireballs, you need to master catching them and relaunching them at your enemies, if you hold the fireball too long, then it damages your wall instead. Using the Snoots is imperative and constantly changing in a similar fashion. To make matters worse, the Black Knight occasionally shows up to attack all of the castles. If you don’t use your Snoots to the unlock nodes, the Black Knight will stay longer to destroy everything.

The game does not strive for much more than a basic update of the original with a few new mechanics. The graphics are cute and cartoony to go along with the light-natured theme of the game, and the music is passable, but the game is tailored to only those who have a desire to play an arcade game with friends. As much as this is a one-note game, it excels at it by being frantic, challenging and fun.

Pros: Fast, frantic fun
Cons: Limited replay value

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.