Band of Bugs: The Red Kingdom

September 4, 2007

Expansion packs are nothing new, but just like the games themselves gamers used to have to go to the store, purchase the software and run it on their gaming machine of choice. Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace is changing that, however. Disc-based games like Crackdown and Oblivion have both received digital expansion packs with included achievements, and Live Arcade titles are matching their $60 MSRP brethren step for step.

Ninja Bee’s latest game, Band of Bugs, is a turn-based strategy game. The base game features 20 storyline missions, a handful of multiplayer modes, and some stand-alone missions. Units are of varying types including archers, mages, and warriors. The Red Kingdom expansion adds a new storyline with 10 missions and two additional character classes.

Red Kingdom doesn’t only add new classes to the mix; it also allows players to use old classes that were unavailable to players in the storyline of the protagonist Maal. The warrior – an enemy to your archers, rogues, and the occasional ninja bee – is a great asset in Red Kingdom (we needed somebody capable of pushing enemy units into water in Maal’s absence). Also playable are the two new classes: cavalry and artillery. Calvary units can strike from two spaces away which is quite handy when fighting across a river, and artillery units can bombard enemy units from afar with fiery projectiles which makes them a great substitution for the fire mage present in Maal’s story (apparently magic users are scarce outside the Central Kingdom). Just like artillery ought to be, the bomb-toting snails are slow and need a good defense, completely focused on their powerful offense.

Red Kingdom also boasts two new achievements worth a total of 30 points (which leaves the door open for Ninja Bee to deliver another expansion with one more achievement and 20 additional gamerscore). The achievements shouldn’t be your only reason for picking up Red Kingdom, but they’re always nice to have, and the A

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.